In this study we use an exceptional outcrop (Van Limburg Stirumvalley outcrop: VLS) located in the dunes of the western Netherlands, to give a multi-proxy reconstruction of an early medieval (ca 900 AD) ecosystem. We document diverse biota with species, including Eurasian eagle-owl Bubo bubo (Linnaeus, 1758), brown bear Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758, wild boar Sus scrofa Linnaeus, 1758, red deer Cervus elaphus Linnaeus, 1758 and blind worm Anguis fragilis Linnaeus, 1758, that were thought to have vanished from the western Netherlands well before Roman times. Our findings show that the Dutch dune areas harboured a very different ecosystem compared to today’s, and give a glimpse of the high biodiversity which existed before the landscape changed due to natural causes and human intervention. At least for pockets in the Dutch dune landscape, that change appears to have been much later then hitherto proposed. The VLS outcrop shows a variety of plants and animal species that should be considered in dune rewilding and restoration programmes.

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Cainozoic research

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Werkgroep voor Tertiaire en Kwartaire Geologie

Wim Kuijper, & Jørn Zeiler. (2021). A multi-proxy reconstruction of a fossil (ca 900 AD) ecosystem in the Dutch coastal dune area (Noordwijk, The Netherlands). Cainozoic research, 21(1), 75–96.