Vegetation history and archaeobotany vol:17 issue:3 pages:297-312
New wood charcoal data from two archaeological sites in western Anatolia (Kumtepe and Troy/Canakkale province) enabled a review of earlier reconstruction of the mid-Holocene vegetation and land use patterns in the region. Multi-proxy data from archaeology, zooarchaeology and climatology are combined to evaluate the relationship of climate-induced and man-made environmental change for a period spanning the Late Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age (ca. 5000-2450 cal B.C.). During the first settlement period (Kumtepe A: ca. 5000-4600 cal B.C.) lush vegetation with high proportions of deciduous oak and pine prevailed, enabling the intense use of natural resources by the late Neolithic population, which use might be reflected in the first few representatives of maquis vegetation. A settlement hiatus at the site between roughly 4600 and 3500 cal B.C. includes a cooling event in the Aegean and may have supported persistence and/or development of open vegetation units. However, the hiatus may have ended with a period of regeneration of the vegetation. From Kumtepe B2 (ca. 3300 cal B.C.) onward, human impact becomes clearly visible, although the main woodland taxa continue to prevail. In all, environmental and economic dynamics between 5000 and 2300 cal B.C. in the Troad can be characterised as at least two alternating developmental sequences of climate-induced vegetation change and reinforcement of woodland degradation by human activity.