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LandCover6k: European Land-use at 6000BP

Barcelona, B, Spain
Workshop report
Contact person
Nicki Whitehouse
E-Mail address
Working groups
Meeting Category

PAGES' LandCover6k working group will hold a workshop, titled "European Land-use at 6000BP: from on-site data to the large-scale view" from 22-23 May 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.


University of Pompeu Fabra

Barcelona, Spain


The workshop, organized by Nicki Whitehouse, Ferran Antolin and Marco Madella, is open to approximately 20 participants. If possible, remote access connections will be made available so participants who are unable to attend can be involved in key activities.


The LandCover6k working group is concerned with whether prehistoric human impacts on land cover (i.e. anthropogenic land cover change due to land use LULC) were sufficiently large to have a major impact on regional climates. Climate model simulations have shown that LULC data sets can have large regional impacts on climate in recent and prehistoric time. However, there are major differences between the available LULC scenarios/data sets (e.g. HYDE and KK10). The only way to provide a useful assessment of the potential for LULC changes to affect climate in the past, is to feed HYDE with more realistic LULC changes based on palaeovegetation (LC) and archaeological evidence (LU). This is the goal of the LandCover6k WG.

This workshop is concerned with reconstructing LU for the European continent by synthesising LU patterns derived from the archaeological record, particularly farming and landscape management strategies and intensity for 6K BP. We are also interested in the location of settlements, field systems, and industrial activities. We define Europe as encompassing areas north of Greece (inclusive), north up to Fennoscandia and Ireland, east as far as Russia.

We face two challenges; (i) translate the global LU categorisation product (a world-wide hierarchical, scalable land classification system developed from LandCover6K’s first phase) into a European context; (ii)map LU from the volume of archaeological data for 6K and derive expert-based  estimates of LU intensity. The most effective means of doing this is to bring together experts in plant and animal husbandry and the archaeological record. Several collaborative projects have synthesised regional datasets that could be used to address LU; they have never been summarised at a European level.


The main workshop objectives are to:

- Agree LU classifications developed for other regions, ensure these are fit for purpose for Europe at 6000 BP, and develop (if needed) geography-specific low-rank categories;

- Establish regions for which we have good data sets for LU and produce associated initial top level hierarchy LU maps;

- Identify high-resolution case study areas that merit further detailed LU mapping and collaborative effort; and

- Agree on a publication strategy from the workshop and subsequent analyses.


Participants will be asked to prepare information regarding their study region in advance of the workshop. This information will be shared within the participant group in a secure online area (see application form, below). There will be a very limited number of presentations; the majority of the workshop will be devoted to synthesis of data.


This will be the third workshop within Phase 2 of LandCover6K; two other workshops will be happening in January and February 2018 (Spain and India). This workshop is essential to establishing European LU at 6k and will be the first European LU workshop to date.

LandCover6k's first phase succeeded to i) engage a large international community of palynologists, archaeologists and historians, ii) train numerous research groups in pollen-vegetation modelling, and iii) demonstrate that LandCover6k’s strategies and methodologies are applicable at the global scale. We focus on regions and time periods that have been selected in collaboration with climate, dynamic vegetation and LULC modelers involved in CMIP6 and PMIP4 (i.e. co-design with CMIP-PMIP and MPI-Hamburg).

We recognize that land use is important for asking archaeological questions and the intention is to ensure they are archaeologically relevant, and of interest to the archaeological communities and beyond. We believe that LU maps, for instance, could find a role with stakeholders in relation to traditional ecological knowledge and land-use in the current debate on resilient and sustainable management of natural resources and small-scale farming. Discussions around different types and modes of cultivation, plant and animal foods, and the use of other raw materials across different continents are also likely to aid archaeological discussions around the role of farming in wealth degeneration, the rise of social inequality and considerations of long term food security. It is intended that these avenues could be explored when land use maps and datasets are available.

Financial support

PAGES has provided some funding for this workshop. Please fill out the application form question about funding, explaining why you need assistance.


The workshop is restricted to about 20 participants and priority will be given to ECR’s who are able to contribute datasets to the regions of interest.

Download the application form here (top left of page, "Application form" box):

Please complete the application form by 30 March and email it to Nicki Whitehouse: (nicola[dot]whitehouse[at]plymouth[dot]ac[dot]uk)

Further information

Questions can be directed to workshop organizer Nicki Whitehouse: (nicola[dot]whitehouse[at]plymouth[dot]ac[dot]uk)

Go to the workshop website: