By Peter I. Bogucki, Pam J. Crabtree
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Additional resources for Ancient Europe, 8000 B.C. to A.D. 1000: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World
The differentiation of the plow horse and the warhorse is a simple example. Some periods stand out as particularly important. The age of the development of iron technology is certainly one of them. In many palaeoecological investigations across Europe, the beginning of the Iron Age saw intensified forest clearance, as this became altogether easier with the use of a hard-edged axe. At the same time the production of iron exerted an environmental impact. Apart from the digging for ore, the smelting process required significant amounts of charcoal.
Scandinavia, too, produced distinguished antiquaries in this period who studied antiquities and systematically documented ancient remains—especially megalithic monuments and burial mounds. It was at this time, too, that the first serious attempts to obtain information from excavation took place when the Swedish antiquarian Olof Rudbeck showed that, rather than simply retrieving objects from the ground, one could treat the process like an anatomical dissection and note the objects’ relationships to different soil layers.
Then iron-tipped plows allowed the turnover and aeration of heavier soils in a kind of snowball effect of environmental change, which also contributed more silt to the river floodplains from higher soil-erosion rates; river estuaries and deltas changed shape and biological components. Beyond the fields, Iron Age economies changed woodlands, as cattle and pigs were allowed to graze and browse in them and the woods were managed to provide leaf fodder. Wetlands were reclaimed as coastal communities learned to construct banks that kept out the tides.
Ancient Europe, 8000 B.C. to A.D. 1000: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World by Peter I. Bogucki, Pam J. Crabtree