Some sherds and finds from the Belgian Kempen region

Hand-made shards from a field  with code K2 in the sandy Belgian Kempen / Campine region ( see global position in regional map above) between the villages of Dilsen -Stokkem  and Opoeteren/ Neeroeteren are about to be examined. At K3  shards of  hand-made pottery were found among some flint artifacts and some Roman shards. These flint artifacts might have been used during the early Bronze Age.
At K2, the sherds were accompanied by both Mesolithic and Neolithic flint finds, and, additional by a bronze age flint point.
A late Neolithic- Early Bronze age flint point from the field K2 in the Belgian Kempen area
Besides of several retouched flint implements (see image below), a lot of debris has been found, made of  fluvial flint.The period for the debitage of this  flint is not always clear. Obvious geometric  microliths could be placed in the (Late) Mesolithic; long blades with a wide over 1,2 cm  from platform cores could be placed in the Neolithic, but they also could origin from the transitional phase to the Bronze Age.
A lot of what appears to be quartz -tempered sherds from the Late Bronze Age period were found, but these are not decorated.
Only 6 out of several hundreds sherds were decorated with a stripe or zigzag motif (see image below)

Decoration on the shards mainly occurs on the more thin untempered shards, at the rim. Two exceptions are visible in the picture: bottom  row middle and bottom row left are tempered shards. These shards are probably contemporary with the Roman period

The decoration varied between regular, obvious 'integrated' in the pots design and other, more irregular stripes that seems to be added upon the wall texture of the pot.
The first type could point to a possible late Iron age  date, while the second type of decoration ( geometric patterns) has been applied during the Late Bronze age period. The temper of pulverized quartz/ quartzite in combination with the raw outside of the more thin sherds and the smooth outside for the relative thick sherds underline the possible Late Bronze age- Early Iron age period for these sherds (Van den Broeke, 2012).
A possible, preliminary date for the sherds would be partially between 1100 and 500 - 200  BC.

This would suggest a possible  very long habitation for the field K2, ranging from  the Late Mesolithic to the Iron Age  period. The main reason for such a long habitation in this area would be
- the availability of fresh water from a source near the field, in combination with a well drained, partially elevated  surface in the sub-locus
- the crossing of several habitat situations at the plateau's edge: a rather different prehistoric vegetation type occurred on the sandy slopes and the plateau as well as on the middle fluvial terraces; this leading to different habitat locations for both the local flora and fauna
- easy exploitation of the sandy area at the flat plateau
- availability of  raw materials like large cobbles, fluvial flint

 Regular hand- made shards are not decorated. Some shards are rather thick and must have belonged to large pots. The pulverized quartz - temper is well visible ( see detail image below)

 Retouched flint borer, made of fluvial flint

 A fragmented sherd with unclear 'decoration'.

Late - Mesolithic flint implements, made in blade technique. The Late Mesolithic for the Belgian Kempen region could be simultaneously with the Michelsberg -Culture (Middle Neolithic, ca 4000 BC).

Maasmechelen - K3 location, some finds
At a plowed field ( code K3) in the community of Maasmechelen in the Belgian Kempen area,  flint debris was found among it not only decortification flakes and  ( burned) laminar elements , but also a large reworked flake and a nice scraper.
This is what would be the reflection of  late Neolithic to early Bronze Age activities at a more large surface measuring ca 100 x 100 m. which is at the highest part of the field.
The scattered pattern demonstrates both the  erosional process and the work of the plow: no real concentrations of flint where visible. On the other hand, some 'concentrations' of sherds of indigenous , handmade pottery exist, at least these were found within a limited  area of about 10 by 20 m.
So the pottery sherds where found in a different part of the field , next to the flint.
Finds from this location are also ranging from the Late Bronze Age period- Roman period.

Flint arrow point from the Late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age period , attributed at the Klokbeker cultuur ( Beaker culture , ca 2100 BC). Image : Arbannig finds, bronze age

Shards of handmade pottery with a crude quartz temper, probably from the Bronze Age period, found together with the flint point ( previous image). Image : Arbannig finds, bronze age

Polishing stone, probably from the Bronze Age period. The polishing of cutting edges with different sizes is still visible.  Image : Arbannig finds, bronze age

Since only a few shards show any decoration and rim- shards are almost absent, it is very difficult to attribute hand- made shards to a certain period.
Lot of sherds were tempered with a pulverized quartz and  sometimes even with charcoal. The outside and inner side of a pot often  were covered with thin, wet clay ("besmeten") which is typical for pottery with an  Iron Age date.The diversity in appearance of the sherds ( colors, thickness, temper, etc.) could either be the result of the original location in the pot, or indicate the diversity of different pots, but this is unknown.
This site K2  shows, that suitable (prehistoric) locations, could have served as habitation sites for many thousands of years.

References internet

Images Brugge/ Ommeland Raakvlak , images iron age sherds


Van Gils, M; De Bie, M; (2002) Prospectie en kartering van laat-glaciale en vroeg - holocene steentijdsites in de Kempen ( boorcampagne 2001) I.A.P. rapporten 12 Zellik 2002
Van den Broeke, P. (2012) Het handgevormde aardewerk uit de ijzertijd en de Romeinse tijd van Oss-Ussen Studies naar typochronologie, technologie en herkomst; PhD Thesis, Leiden University, the Netherlands, Sidestone Press Dissertations
Verhoeven A. A. A. (1998) Middeleeuws Gebruiksaardewerk in Nederland:
8ste-13de Eeuw ; Amsterdam University Press,  Kugeltopf.

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