3 years ago

Wood use in a growing medieval city. The overexploitation of woody resources in Ghent (Belgium) between the 10th and 12th century AD

The analyses of wood and charcoal recovered from a medieval refuse layer provided information on the use of woody resources between the 10th and 12th century A.D. in the city of Ghent (northern Belgium). During this period, Ghent evolved from a small settlement to a large urban centre. The results show that in the 10th century, the best suited woody taxa were used for both timber and firewood, Quercus sp. being the major wood type in the assemblage of the waterlogged timber remains and Betula sp., Carpinus betulus, Quercus sp. and Fagus sylvatica dominating the charcoal assemblages. By the 11th century, the somewhat less suited wood of Fraxinus excelsior is the most frequently used timber and fuel wood, indicating that the better quality wood taxa had become scarce. During the 12th century, Alnus sp. is the mayor wood type exploited both for fuel wood and construction wood, though this tree provides only very poor quality fuel and timber wood. The evolution in the taxa that have been used for both timber and fuel wood thus shows the overexploitation of woody resources, leading to the shortage of first high quality wood taxa and later also of other tree species that provide medium and low quality timber and fuel wood.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1040618216303408

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