MID-5. Northern Mazovia – landscape evolution induced by human activities

The main features of the Mazovia lowland were created due to the ice sheet activity during the Pleistocene period. Some 20 ka BP the edge of Vistulan glacier stopped in the vicinity of Płock leaving a typical young glacial landscape. The areas located to the south from last glacial maximum (LGM) were transformed by the cold periglacial conditions. The range of LGM is the boundary between young and old glacial landscapes.

Apart from natural processes, human economic activity played an important role in the evolution of the landscape. The evolution of Mazovia's landscape over the last few thousands of years correlates well with the phases of human economic activity in this area. Changes in land use led to the development of gullies cutting the edge of the Vistula valley. Further, the intensive development of agriculture from the Roman period and from the early Middle Ages was recorded by the processes of sediment aggradations in the river valleys.

This excursion will focus on traces of natural processes and human activities that have shaped the landscape of Northern Mazovia. During the trip, there will be presented the gullies in the vicinity of Zakroczym and Murzynowo, the Skrwa valley infilled by the sediments from soil erosion in the vicinity of Brudzeń Duży (the thickness of sediments deposited over the last 2000 years exceeds 2 meters) as well as selected strongholds and other archaeological sites (Szeligi, Wyszogród), dating the presence of man and the effects of his economic activity.