Thesis subject

Historical gully erosion in South Spain

Gully erosion is one of the most important land degradation processes, especially in the Mediterranean. Given its long land use history, it is possible that many gully systems have been active since the arrival of the first farmers. At present, no data exists on the age and the dynamics of these gullies although exciting new data on 500 years of land use and management have recently become available.

This work consists of two theses, for two students. The first thesis consists of examining sediment stratigraphy of one or several gullies close to Cordoba in Southern Spain, and dating these strata with Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating if possible. The second thesis focuses on the unusually well known land use history of the site, relating this to erosion dynamics and sediments in gullies. Both projects together will characterize the gully deposits and relate these to their age to answer the following questions: When did the first gullies erode? Is there a signal of intense erosion during periods of more intense land use in Roman times or the Islamic period? What is the overall importance of gully erosion in the landscape evolution in Mediterranean landscapes?

The first thesis combines field work and lab work and a sound interest in archaeology.

The second thesis combines field work with GIS and modelling skills.

You will work in the context of existing research projects in the region.


Students: 2 preferred, 1 possible

Required: GIS and/or modelling skills and an interest in archaeology

Duration: typically 36 ECTS

Period: start in summer or very early autumn 2014

Supervision: Arnaud Temme (SGL), Jeroen Schoorl (SGL), Tony Reimann (SGL) and Tom Vanwalleghem (University Cordoba, Spain)

Theme: Soil development and landscape evolution