The Bronze Age landscape of the Bjare peninsula, southern Sweden, and its relationship to burial mounds
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Palaeoecological analyses from a small fen deposit, combined with pollen analysis from buried soil profiles under prehistoric burial mounds, have been used to investigate the timing and vegetation change associated with the Holocene development of a cultural landscape in southern Sweden. Traditional pollen analysis is complemented with plant macrofossil analysis and soil pollen analysis from within and in close proximity to the burial mounds in the coastal Bjare peninsula, well known for its high density of well-preserved Bronze Age monuments. The vegetation development is linked to the construction of the burial mounds. A marked increase of cultural impact on the landscape is recorded during the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition and estimates of landscape openness suggest that by the onset of the Bronze Age, forest cover was only 20-40%, falling to 10% in the immediate vicinity of the burial mounds themselves. The coastal strip appears to have been affected by human activity to a greater extent and at an earlier date than sites from further inland in southern Sweden and the Bronze Age burial mounds were most likely designed to be visible in a largely deforested landscape.