Title: Holocene anthropogenic landscapes in the Balkans: the paleobotanical evidence from southwestern Bulgaria
Authors: Marinova, Elena ×
Tonkov, Spassimir
Bozilova, Elisaveta
Vajsov, Ivan #
Issue Date: Jan-2012
Publisher: Springer-International
Series Title: Vegetation History & Archaeobotany vol:21 pages:413-427
Abstract: Palaeoecological reconstructions from the region of southwestern Bulgaria were used for inferring the human impact on the vegetation and landscape for the last 8 millenia. They are based on data from pollen analyses of lakes and peat-bogs, plant macrofossils, archaeobotanical finds and radiocarbon dating. During the early Holocene, after 7900 cal. ВР (5950 cal BC) the climate changed to cooler summers, milder winters and higher precipitation resulting in the formation of a coniferous belt dominated by Pinus sp. and Abies alba. These favorable environmental pre-conditions had positive influence on the Neolithisation of the Balkans after the 8200 cal. BP (6250 cal. BC) cold event, which caused drought in the Eastern Mediterranean. Direct evidence from wood charcoal records from the Neolithic settlement layers in the study area shows a slight modification of the surrounding woodlands and an increase of the light-demanding components, probably expressed through larger forest border zones and thinning out the wood stands. The increase in the number of settlements in the valleys of southwestern Bulgaria intensified the human activity visible in the paleobotanical record from 6950 cal BP (5000 cal BC) onwards. Between ca. 5700-5100 cal BP (3800 cal BC - 3200 cal BC) the signs for anthropogenic influence on the vegetation are almost missing. The intensity of human impact expanded notably after 3200 cal. BP (1400-1250 cal BC, approx. Late Bronze Age), documented by a rise of pollen anthropogenic indicators. The last transformations in the natural forest cover after 2750 cal. BP (800 cal BC onset of the Iron Age) marking the reduction of the coniferous forests dominated by Abies alba and Pinus sp. and expansion of Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies. Those vegetation changes are contemporaneous with increase of the palaeofire activities and the next peak of anthropogenic indicators. The changes in the landscape during the Roman period and the Medieval period reflect regional environmental features and were forced by the diversification of the anthropogenic activity
ISSN: 0939-6314
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Laboratory for Animal Biodiversity and Systematics (-)
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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