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  • 1 Móra Ferenc Museum, Szeged, Hungary
  • 2 Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science, Vienna, Austria
  • 3 MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Vácrátót, Hungary
  • 4 University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
  • 5 Hortobágy National Park Directorate, Debrecen, Hungary
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The Ecse-halom is a burial mound (kurgan) in the Hortobágy region of Hungary. Built in the Late Copper Age/Early Bronze Age by nomadic people from the east, it now stands on the border between two modern settlements. A road of medieval origin runs along this border and cuts deeply into the body of the mound. The southern half of the mound was plowed and used as a rice field, and later a military observation tower was built on top of it. Despite this disturbance, the surface of the mound is in decent condition and provides a home for regionally significant, species-rich loess steppe vegetation. The mound comprises two construction layers as indicated by magnetic susceptibility and thin-section micro-morphological analysis. Examination of organic compounds and carbonate content at various levels showed different values, which suggest a variety of natural and anthropogenic stratigraphic layers. Mid-sized siltstone fraction is dominant in the section. The layers originate from the immediate vicinity of the mound, but have different characteristics than present-day soils. These mounds contain a valuable record of cultural and environmental conditions occurring at the time of their construction, and also serve as a refuge for ancient loess vegetation; therefore their conservation is highly recommended.

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