Final symposium Dark Ages of the Lowlands in an interdisciplinary light
September 26th 2019 – Boothzaal, Heidelberglaan 3, Utrecht UniversityFlyer DA symposium

We would like to draw your attention to the final symposium of the NWO-project: The Dark Age of the Lowlands in an interdisciplinary light: people, landscape and climate in the Netherlands between AD 300 and 1000. This interdisciplinary symposium will be held on Thursday 26th of September in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The main objective of this symposium is to provide an overview of the current state of research and knowledge of the Dark Age Period and to showcase the results of the research project.

The proceedings of this symposium will be published in a special issue of the Netherlands Journal of Geosciences. The symposium and special issue will include contributions from archeological, historical, geomorphological, vegetation, and climate research, all focusing on the first millennium AD and human – landscape interactions.

To register or for additional information:mailadres


The project

This research programme focuses on a period of severe pan-European economic and demographic change: the Late Roman Period (AD 300-500) and Early Middle Ages (AD 500- 1000). Physical-geographical and biogeological data point at marked climatic variability and changing landscapes during this time interval. In geomorphologically sensitive regions such as river deltas and coastal areas these changes must have had a noticeable impact on the location and lay-out of urban centres and rural settlements, land use and subsistence strategies, and connections of population centres to their economical ‘hinterland’. Recent developments in digital infrastructure in the Humanities and Geosciences in the Netherlands for the first time enable us to study these phenomena from an interregional and interdisciplinary perspective.


Fieldwork within the project

Project research areas

Project research areas

We study how settlement dynamics, land use, infrastructure, demography and trade between AD 300 and 1000 were related to changes of the landscape and climate, focusing on the Lowlands’ geomorphologically most sensitive regions. This reconstruction will take place within three complementary PhD-projects, in the realms of archaeology, physical geography and biogeology. Subproject A focuses on occupation patterns and land use in coastal, river and Pleistocene sandy regions, Subproject B on natural geomorphologic landscape dynamics in these regions, and Subproject C on vegetation changes and climate.

Results will be synthesized in an interdisciplinary reconstruction of the interactions between cultural and environmental dynamics in the Lowlands between AD 300 and 1000 in a broader northwest-European context. The study will greatly improve the archaeological understanding of dynamics in the Early Medieval Lowlands and strongly enhance the framework for future research of this key period.