2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 29-24
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM


RAAB, Thomas1, RAAB, Alexandra2, SCHNEIDER, Anna1, HIRSCH, Florian1, NICOLAY, Alexander1, TAKLA, Melanie2 and RÖSLER, Horst3, (1)Geopedology and Landscape Development, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Cottbus, 03046, Germany, (2)Research Center Landscape Development and Mining Landscapes (FZLB), Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Cottbus, 03046, Germany, (3)Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Museum, Wünsdorfer Platz 4-5, Zossen, 15806, Germany

In pre-industrial times, charcoal burning was a common trade for energy supply all over Europe. Much is known from historical and palaeoenvironmental research about charcoal production and related consequences for the environment in the uplands. In recent years there has been growing awareness that woods in the lowlands were also used for charcoal production. Over 20 years, a large charcoal burning field in Lower Lusatia (Brandenburg, North German Lowlands) has been revealed by systematic archaeological research in the opencast mine Jänschwalde. However, the excavations are limited to the territory of the mine, which covers only a part of the former Jänschwalder Heide and surrounding common forests.

The aim of our research was to examine the spatial-temporal extent of charcoal production in the Jänschwalder Heide and surrounding areas. We applied a combined approach using the results of archaeological research, GIS-analyses of shaded-relief maps (SRM) and tree-ring dating of selected charcoal kiln remains.

About 800 excavated charcoal kiln ground plans were analysed and provide a solid data basis for our GIS-analyses. For an extensive evaluation, we enlarged our study area beyond the limits of the lignite mine. We identified and digitized charcoal kiln remains on SRM created from digital elevation models (DEMs) based on high-resolution airborne laserscanning data (ALS). The data from the excavated and the digitized charcoal kiln relicts were analysed in view of their sizes and their spatial distribution. In addition, dendrochronological ages were determined for 16 selected charcoal kilns. The study shows that charcoal production had a much larger extent than proven by the archaeological excavations. More than 5000 charcoal kiln remains were detected on the SRM, covering an area twice as large as the excavated charcoal burning field. The ages of the charcoal kiln remains place charcoal production into the 17th to the 19th century, the main period of charcoal burning.