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Abstract

This study represents the first detailed multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental investigation associated with a Late Iron Age lake-dwelling site in the eastern Baltic. The main objective was to reconstruct the environmental and vegetation dynamics associated with the establishment of the lake-dwelling and land-use during the last 2,000 years. A lacustrine sediment core located adjacent to a Late Iron Age lake-dwelling, medieval castle and Post-medieval manor was sampled in Lake Āraiši. The core was dated using spheroidal fly-ash particles and radiocarbon dating, and analysed in terms of pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, diatoms, loss-on-ignition, magnetic susceptibility and element geochemistry. Associations between pollen and other proxies were statistically tested. During ad 1–700, the vicinity of Lake Āraiši was covered by forests and human activities were only small-scale with the first appearance of cereal pollen (Triticum and Secale cereale) after ad 400. The most significant changes in vegetation and environment occurred with the establishment of the lake-dwelling around ad 780 when the immediate surroundings of the lake were cleared for agriculture, and within the lake there were increased nutrient levels. The highest accumulation rates of coprophilous fungi coincide with the occupation of the lake-dwelling from ad 780–1050, indicating that parts of the dwelling functioned as byres for livestock. The conquest of tribal lands during the crusades resulted in changes to the ownership, administration and organisation of the land, but our results indicate that the form and type of agriculture and land-use continued much as it had during the preceding Late Iron Age.

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... We treated algal palynomorphs as binary data in our reconstructions, thus utilising the indicative value of algal finds in line with the algal communities. Algal species presence, lake pH and EC levels from the training-set were used as a modern analogue to calculate the most likely past pH and EC levels based on species assemblages in samples of Lakes Arai su and Lielais Sv etiņ u (Stivrins et al., 2015a(Stivrins et al., , 2015b. To achieve these results, before every reconstruction, modern pH and EC level data for each species were randomly re-sampled with replacement, thus increasing the sample size to 100, with the aim of reducing possible biases due to relatively scarce observations. ...
... Freshwater organic-walled algal palynomorphs analysis). We used published original radiocarbon dates for Lake Lielais Sv etiņ u from Stivrins et al. (2015a) and Lake Arai su from Stivrins et al. (2015b) and applied the latest IntCal20 calibration dataset (Reimer et al., 2020). A new age-depth model was created in the R environment (R Core Team, 2021) using the Clam package (Blaauw, 2010). ...
... To demonstrate the example of training-set applicability, an freshwater organic-walled algal palynomorphs-based training-set was used to run pH and EC reconstruction for Lake Lielais Sv etiņ u and Lake Arai su. While Lake Lielais Sv etiņ u sediment sequence exhibits an algal palynomorphs record of nearly natural variability for the last 14 600 years (Stivrins et al., 2015a), Lake Arai su sediments enclose the evidence of significant nearby anthropogenic activities (Stivrins et al., 2015b). The average pH values were comparable between the sites ranging from 7.8 to 8.7. ...
Article
Only a few studies have related modern non-pollen palynomorphs to environmental variables, limiting the development of non-pollen palynomorphs training sets. Here, we perform substantial groundwork by developing a training set for freshwater organic-walled algal palynomorphs. We sampled surface sediments from 78 waterbodies across Latvia in northeastern Europe with the aim of gaining information on the distribution and diversity of algal palynomorphs. We analysed the preferred living conditions (water and sediment properties) of algal palynomorphs in conjunction with climate and catchment characteristics (Quaternary sediment type, landscape usage, and composition). In total, 94 species/taxa belonging to four phyla (Cyanobacteria, Chlorophyta, Charophyta, and Ochrophyta) were identified. By applying statistical and descriptive analyses, we showed the indicative value of algal palynomorphs along various gradients. Using the established training set, we for the first constructed organic-walled algal palynomorphs-based pH and electric conductivity reconstructions for two lakes where natural and anthropogenic variability was recognised. Freshwater algal palynomorphs assemblages constrained by environmental and climatic variables open new horizons for further non-pollen palynomorphs qualitative and quantitative research.
... Although fire has accompanied human evolution, our understanding of fire remains quite meagre, especially in Latvia, where only a limited number of long term fire reconstruction studies involving fire record data have been conducted (e.g. Veski et al. 2012;Stivrins et al. 2015aStivrins et al. , 2015bStivrins et al. , 2016aFeurdean et al. 2017;Kitenberga et al. 2019). The latest studies show that humandriven fires affected landscape transformation in the Central European Lowlands already 8500 years ago (Dietze et al. 2018). ...
... The cultural phenomenon of lakedwellings spread into presentday Latvia during the Late Iron Age, while it was already in decline in the rest of Europe (Coles & Coles 1989;Menotti 2003Menotti , 2004Menotti et al. 2005;Apals 2012). Despite the singularity of lakedwelling sites, there have been few or no detailed palaeoecological studies aimed at understanding their environmental context and impact on the landscape (Stivrins et al. 2015b). ...
... Our findings are sup ported not only by Feurdean et al. (2017) but also by Molinari et al. (2020) who detected a lower biomass burning trend within the boreal and cold temperate forests of Fennoscandia 7000-4000 years ago, at the time of an increased share of broadleaved trees in the landscape. Although there is no pollen (vegetation) record from Lake Bricu, pollen record from Lake Araisu (located 60 km NW from the study site) showed that boreal and hemiboreal forest existed in central Latvia during the early and late Holocene, respectively (Stivrins et al. 2015b(Stivrins et al. , 2019b. Unpublished data from Lake Araisu and Lake Ķūži (60 km W from Lake Bricu) revealed the persistence of nemoral deciduous forest during the middle Holocene (Kangur et al. 2009). ...
Article
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Fire is today a pan-European issue and is expected to be more salient because of climate and land use changes. Even though natural and anthropogenic fires have shaped forest composition and landscape characteristics since the last glacial retreat from northeastern Europe, fire frequency is an understudied topic. To address this issue, we analysed macroscopic charcoal (>160 μm) from two sediment sequences located in the central and littoral parts of Lake Bricu (central Latvia) revealing the fire frequency during the Holocene. The chronology of the analysed sediment sequences is based on spheroidal fly-ash carbonaceous particles and accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating. Macroscopic charcoal results were examined in detail using the CharAnalysis approach. The mean fire return interval for the entire Holocene was 372 years (261–494 years). Fire reconstructions revealed higher fire frequency during the early and late Holocene (cool climate), but lower frequency during the middle Holocene (warm climate). Although our study underlines that natural fire frequency might decrease during warmer climate, the anthropogenic fire use already has surpassed the baseline of natural fire frequency.
... Geoarchaeological techniques can be applied to create synergies between the buried archaeology of castles with sediments from their historical territories or hinterlands and between the cultural and natural heritage. They allow the preservation conditions of buried archaeological deposits to be assessed to inform heritage management decisions (Canti and Huisman 2015), but also provide important taphonomic information, when used with other sources of environmental evidence, such as faunal remains, plant macro-remains, and palynological studies (Banerjea et al. 2020a), to reconstruct the history of land use within a castle's hinterland Stivrins et al. 2015;. Geoarchaeology can also aid the interpretation and presentation of castle landscapes within their formal management structures and inform future research frameworks and practice. ...
... Although rotational farming was already present in north-western Estonia before the crusades (Pluskowski 2019b), in Livonia and parts of eastern Prussia, pre-Crusade agricultural practices survived for centuries and trade was not as well developed as elsewhere . Colonisation in the eastern Baltic (Livonia) was limited largely to the major urban centres such as Riga, where their establishment involved new concentration of people and animals (Banerjea et al. 2017;Brown et al. 2017), or key rural centres such as the Teutonic Order castle at Trikata, located on one of the main north-south roads through Livonia that probably held a key provisioning role (Stivrins et al. 2015;. There was limited colonisation of the rural hinterlands, and native populations continued to follow indigenous patterns of land-use (Stivrins et al. 2015;Brown and Pluskowski 2020). ...
... Colonisation in the eastern Baltic (Livonia) was limited largely to the major urban centres such as Riga, where their establishment involved new concentration of people and animals (Banerjea et al. 2017;Brown et al. 2017), or key rural centres such as the Teutonic Order castle at Trikata, located on one of the main north-south roads through Livonia that probably held a key provisioning role (Stivrins et al. 2015;. There was limited colonisation of the rural hinterlands, and native populations continued to follow indigenous patterns of land-use (Stivrins et al. 2015;Brown and Pluskowski 2020). In comparison with geochemical enrichments and macrobotanical evidence from middening activities in Riga during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the data from sediments within the moat (mid-fourteenth century) and first bailey of the stone castle at Cēsis indicate quite a low intensity of occupation, without any large build-up of effluent and refuse as seen at Riga (Banerjea and Badura 2019). ...
Article
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This paper promotes the application of geoarchaeology—joint studies using historical, archaeological and heritage approaches—to the conservation and management practice of castles and landscapes in the context of ‘castlescapes’. Using case studies from recent research on medieval castles in frontier regions of the eastern Baltic and Spain, it demonstrates how geoarchaeology can create synergies between on-site and off-site environments and between cultural and natural heritage and draw valuable information from soils and sediments about the changing form and function of spaces within castles, and about the links between these spaces and activities in their hinterlands. Geoarchaeological approaches can also illuminate the diachronic biographies that hide from visitors in the buried archaeology of castles, which to most visitors would be blank cavasses, but which can provide snap-shots of castle life in the context of a wider landscape. Castles are commonly publicly recognised as being important historical monuments, but from a heritage perspective they are often presented in isolation from their associated historical territories, and often (especially in frontier regions) appropriated within modern politics, which has influenced both heritage management decisions and research frameworks.
... The topmost 0.5 m of unconsolidated sediment was sampled using a Willner-type gravity sampler. Lake Arai su revealed a 12.4-m-long sediment sequence of homogeneous gyttja (Stivrins et al., 2015), while an 8-m-long sequence of alternating silt and homogeneous gyttja was obtained from Lake Trik atas (Stivrins et al., 2016). Both sequences were analysed for pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, loss-on-ignition and magnetic susceptibility (Stivrins et al., 2015(Stivrins et al., , 2016. ...
... Lake Arai su revealed a 12.4-m-long sediment sequence of homogeneous gyttja (Stivrins et al., 2015), while an 8-m-long sequence of alternating silt and homogeneous gyttja was obtained from Lake Trik atas (Stivrins et al., 2016). Both sequences were analysed for pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, loss-on-ignition and magnetic susceptibility (Stivrins et al., 2015(Stivrins et al., , 2016. ...
... The sediment chronology of Lake Arai su is based on 12 bulk 14 C dates and spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs). The peak in SCP emissions occurred in AD 1982AE10 (Latvenergo electric utility company emissions data; Stivrins et al., 2015). The age model of the Lake Trik atas sediment sequence was established by six accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14 C dates (Stivrins et al., 2016). ...
Article
We report the first geochemically confirmed findings of the Askja volcano (Iceland) AD 1875 eruption cryptotephra in Eastern Europe. The cryptotephra finding in Latvia is the easternmost finding of the Askja AD 1875 so far, providing an important time marker in the sediments. Although low concentrations of Askja AD 1875 rhyolitic glass shards were recorded, our findings suggest the possibility of also tracing other historical cryptotephras in lacustrine and peat sediments in Eastern Europe. We use the Askja AD 1875 tephra isochrone to synchronize pollen data of human activities, i.e. rye (Secale cereale) cultivation. Our comparison of Secale pollen from two sites reveals that there were minor dissimilarities in the timing of highest rye cultivation, and that a synchronous decrease of rye cultivation occurred at both sites few years after the Askja eruption at AD 1875.
... C a r e x e l a t a , f r . Our palaeobotanical records suggest a predominance of forest communities in the surroundings of the Cepkeliai wetland complex during the early part of the Common Era (CE), which is typical in the eastern Baltic region for the onset of the first millennium CE (Stan cikait _ e et al., 2002;Novik et al., 2010;Stivrins et al., 2015). This afforestation could have been related to an increase in temperature noted in the Baltic area at about 100 CE (Sepp€ a and Poska, 2004). ...
... In addition, the low representation of aquatic taxa points to a restriction of limnic depositional environments. These evolutions are in line with several records indicating drier surface conditions in peatlands and lowered lake levels across northern and eastern Europe (Lamentowicz et al., 2008;V€ aliranta et al., 2012;Gałka et al., 2014;Stivrins et al., 2015). Such changes could also have resulted from a decrease in annual and summer precipitation (Graham et al., 2010;Kuijpers et al., 2012). ...
... Artemisia, Cyperaceae and Poaceae culminate whereas Plantago and Chenopodium are continuously represented in the pollen spectra. These dynamics are in line with several palaeobotanical studies suggesting a regional change towards a semiopen landscape during this period (Veski et al., 2005;Stan cikait _ e et al., 2009;Stivrins et al., 2015). Simultaneously, arboreal pollen records indicate an increased occurrence of Betula and Alnus in the Cepkeliai area, whereas reduced proportions of Pinus and Picea suggest a reduction of these taxa in the local habitat. ...
Article
To increase our understanding of long-term climate dynamics and its effects on different ecosystems, palaeoclimatic and long-term botanical reconstructions need to be improved, in particular in underutilized geographical regions. In this study, vegetation, (hydro)climate, and land-use changes were documented at two southeast Lithuanian peatland complexes – Čepkeliai and Rieznyčia – for the Late-Holocene period. The documentation was based on a combination of pollen, plant macrofossils, peat stratigraphic records, and subfossil trees. Our results cover the last two millennia and reveal the existence of moist conditions in Southern Lithuania between 300 and 500 CE and from 950 to 1850 CE. Conversely, changes towards warmer and/or dryer conditions have been recorded in 100, 600, and 750 CE, and since the 1850s. Significant differences with other Baltic proxies prevent deriving a complete and precise long-term reconstruction of past hydroclimatic variability at the regional scale. Yet, our results provide an important cornerstone for an improved understanding of regional climate change, i.e. in a region for which only (i) few detailed palaeobotanical studies exist and which has, in addition, been considered as (ii) an ecologically sensitive region at the interface between the temperate and boreal bioclimatic zones.
... Aquatic plants, including submerged macrophytes and those typical for shallow open water were widely established in the littoral zone or along the shores. The recorded lowering of the water table was coincident with the climatic aridification associated with the Medieval climatic anomaly (750-1350 AD) noted in numerous sites from the northern-north-eastern Europe (Hammarlund et al., 2003;Lamentowicz et al., 2008;Väliranta et al., 2012;Gałka et al., 2014;Stivrins et al., 2015). The prospering of the anthropogenically induced landscape may have been partly supported by this positive climatic change, which was characterised by an increased mean temperature , in addition to the other changes observed. ...
... Simultaneously, fire intensity in the area decreased, which is demonstrated by the decrease in the microcharcoal curve. Simultaneous regional reduction of the fire activity was noted in the eastern Baltic (Veski et al., 2005;Stivrins et al., 2015Stivrins et al., , 2016. In any case, the intensity of the human interference in the area lowered, and natural, most likely, climatic factors became increasingly important in the development of the local vegetation cover. ...
... Both winter and spring cereals together with weeds, including C. cyanus and Taraxacum, were recorded proving existence of rotational crop regime and increasing anthropogenic soil erosion as shown by simultaneous culmination of MS curve (Fig. 8). Recorded continuous presence of Triticum and Secale cerealia confirms an adoption of cereal farming and predominating role of this activity in the local economy, that is positively correlated with the regional signal (Sillasoo and Hiie, 2007;Niinemets and Saarse, 2007;Sillasoo et al., 2009;Stančikaitė et al., 2009bStančikaitė et al., , 2013Madeja, 2013;Stivrins et al., 2015). Establishment of a three-field system including cultivation of winter and summer cereals alongside with existence of fallow land took place at the same time in Europe (Enters et al., 2008). ...
... Selected statistical method for the current study, such as a Detrended Canonical Correspondence Analysis (DCCA) has been successfully used to evaluate the phytoplankton communities of lakes (e.g., Smol et al., 2005;Weckström et al., 2015), which can be used in assession of regime shifts and finding the reference conditions. 2 Study area 2.1 History of human impact on the landscape over the last 2000 years Palaeovegetation records from the study sites indicate a heavily wooded landscape until 500 BC when the first traces of the continuous record of cereal pollen indicate the establishment of agriculture. However, agriculture during the Iron Age was relatively minor and did not dramatically change the surrounding landscape with few exceptions regarding specific dwellings and cultural aspects (Stivrins et al., 2015a). Agricultural practices varied within and between the Baltic region; at least a 4000-year cultivation history is observed close to settlement centres, but agriculture began much later in peripheral areas. ...
... Fieldworks to obtain the gyttja sediment from the lakes were conducted from the ice-covered surface in Lake Lielais Svetiņu on March 2009, in Lake Trikātas on March 2012, in Lake Ārai su on March 2012, in Lake Ķikuru on March 2013, and in Lake Lilastes on April/March 2012 and 2013 (Stivrins et al., 2015a(Stivrins et al., , 2015b(Stivrins et al., , 2017Grudzinska et al., 2017). The uppermost unconsolidated sediment was sampled using a Willner-type sampler and subsequent denser sediment using a 10-cm diameter Russian peat sampler that possesses a 1-mlong barrel. ...
... The peak in SCP emission occurred in AD 1982 ± 10 years (Stivrins et al., 2016b). Information on SCP was already available from Lake Ārai su (Stivrins et al., 2015a) and Lilaste (Grudzinska et al., 2017). Also, microscopic volcanic ash shards À tephra of Askja AD 1875 eruption was used for lakes Ārai su and Trikātas (Stivrins et al., 2016b) in the age-depth modelling. ...
Article
The current status of a lake can be evaluated via monitoring, but such data can only provide information about the last few decades to a century at best. In most cases, the natural state of a lake cannot be ascertained. This is even more challenging if the apparent anthropogenic effects on the environment over the last millennia are considered. We used data on fossil algae from five evenly distributed hemiboreal lakes in geographically different regions in Latvia, NE Europe to assess the amount of compositional change or turnover (i.e., the beta-diversity) in the algae datasets for the last 2000 years by using a Detrended Canonical Correspondence Analysis. Our results show that the algae turnover increases towards the present day with distinct shifts during times characterised by extensive and intensive agriculture establishment, and political and economic changes. Because the anthropogenic impact on the landscape and lakes before AD 1200 was relatively minor, we propose that algae composition at that time can be assumed to represent the natural reference conditions for most Latvian lakes.
... Aquatic plants, including submerged macrophytes and those typical for shallow open water were widely established in the littoral zone or along the shores. The recorded lowering of the water table was coincident with the climatic aridification associated with the Medieval climatic anomaly (750-1350 AD) noted in numerous sites from the northern-north-eastern Europe (Hammarlund et al., 2003;Lamentowicz et al., 2008;Väliranta et al., 2012;Gałka et al., 2014;Stivrins et al., 2015). The prospering of the anthropogenically induced landscape may have been partly supported by this positive climatic change, which was characterised by an increased mean temperature , in addition to the other changes observed. ...
... Simultaneously, fire intensity in the area decreased, which is demonstrated by the decrease in the microcharcoal curve. Simultaneous regional reduction of the fire activity was noted in the eastern Baltic (Veski et al., 2005;Stivrins et al., 2015Stivrins et al., , 2016. In any case, the intensity of the human interference in the area lowered, and natural, most likely, climatic factors became increasingly important in the development of the local vegetation cover. ...
... Both winter and spring cereals together with weeds, including C. cyanus and Taraxacum, were recorded proving existence of rotational crop regime and increasing anthropogenic soil erosion as shown by simultaneous culmination of MS curve (Fig. 8). Recorded continuous presence of Triticum and Secale cerealia confirms an adoption of cereal farming and predominating role of this activity in the local economy, that is positively correlated with the regional signal (Sillasoo and Hiie, 2007;Niinemets and Saarse, 2007;Sillasoo et al., 2009;Stančikaitė et al., 2009bStančikaitė et al., , 2013Madeja, 2013;Stivrins et al., 2015). Establishment of a three-field system including cultivation of winter and summer cereals alongside with existence of fallow land took place at the same time in Europe (Enters et al., 2008). ...
Article
This study presents the results of multi-proxy investigations of mid-to late-Holocene vegetation dynamics and land-use history associated with the Petrešiūnai archaeological site, north-east Lithuania. Identified vegetation changes are discussed in the context of both natural and anthropogenic factors determined within the site and its surroundings. The initial stages of colonisation and the subsequent land-use dynamics are discussed by applying the results of biostratigraphical and archaeological-historical data. To explore these issues, a lacustrine sediment core obtained from the stand-scale sedimentary basin was studied using a microbotanical (pollen and microcharcoal) survey and ¹⁴C and magnetic susceptibility (MS) measurements. Associations between proxies were statistically tested. In addition, archaeological excavations were conducted within the area of the Petrešiūnai hill fort. The results obtained show the presence of a heavily forested landscape with broad-leaved deciduous trees dominating the taxa existed in the area until approximately 4800-4700 cal BC. Low magnitude fire activity mainly caused by the natural factors was recorded. The expansion of spruce and the gradual decrease in thermophilous taxa suggests a local-scale climatic reversal started prior to the general decline of the HTM (Holocene Thermal Maximum). The decay of broad-leaved taxa followed by the pronounced culmination of Picea-dominated forest (2100-1500 cal BC) confirms the general re-organisation of the forest structure in the area. A small-scale vegetation stress, accompanied by an increase in fire interference suggestive of episodic Neolithic-Bronze Age human activity, was noted in the area at approximately 2800-2200 cal BC, 1800 cal BC and 1500 cal BC. Biostratigraphical and sedimentological data suggest agriculture practices and animal husbandry were introduced and the landscape was increasingly utilised between 1300 and 1000 cal BC, which preceded the archaeological record of the Petrešiūnai hill fort by a few hundred years. However, as indicated by pollen data, pastoral farming predominated the local economy until approximately 400 AD. The establishment of regular cultivation practices, including crop rotation, and the formation of permanent fields with introduction of winter cereals began in the surroundings of Petrešiūnai by the 6th - 7th c. AD. At that time, the secondary open Betula-dominant vegetation successions flourished in the area. A highly diversified landscape with large agriculture fields, open grounds, meadows and pastures culminated in the area between 1000 and 1300 AD. After this period, the intensity of the human-induced vegetation changes apparently decreased, which confirms re-organisation of the settlement pattern and land-use in this area.
... Although palaeoenvironmental studies over the last two decades have greatly contributed to our knowledge on vegetation change in Latvia (Amon et al., 2014;Heikkilä and Seppä, 2010;Kalnina et al., 2004;Kangur et al., 2009;Kušķe et al., 2010;Ozola et al., 2010;Stivrins et al., 2014), existing research has almost entirely focused on natural long-term vegetation dynamics, with less research on environmental changes occurring during more recent periods of significant and rapid social and cultural change. Thus far, there are only a few well-dated pollen sequences from northern Latvia (Kangur et al., 2009;Stivrins et al., 2015). Moreover, the crusades in northern Latvia are poorly supported by documentary sources and archaeological investigations. ...
... Three pollen sequences from peatlands around Cēsis, central Latvia (former German Wenden and the Head Quarter of the Livonian Order), show a similar pattern of agricultural intensification from the mid-14th century and later (Brown and Pluskowski, 2014). However, a pollen sequence from adjacent to the Iron Age lake settlement and medieval castle at Āriaši, 6 km south-east of Cēsis, shows a decline in agricultural land use from the start of the medieval period, only increasing again during the 14th century (Stivrins et al., 2015), perhaps linked with the construction of the castle during the first half of the 14th century. The palynological sequences from southern Estonia and northern Latvia reflect more broadly the history of land use across medieval Livonia. ...
Article
This paper evaluates the impact of the crusades on the landscape and environment of northern Latvia between the 13th–16th centuries (medieval Livonia). The crusades replaced tribal societies in the eastern Baltic with a religious state (Ordenstaat) run by the military orders and their allies, accompanied by significant social, cultural and economic developments. These changes have previously received little consideration in palaeoenvironmental studies of past land use in the eastern Baltic region, but are fundamental to understanding the development and expansion of a European Christian identity. Sediment cores from Lake Trikāta, located adjacent to a medieval castle and settlement, were studied using pollen, macrofossils, loss-on-ignition and magnetic susceptibility. Our results show that despite continuous agricultural land use from 500 BC, the local landscape was still densely wooded until the start of the crusades in AD 1198 when a diversified pattern of pasture, meadow and arable land use was established. Colonisation followed the crusades, although in Livonia this occurred on a much smaller scale than in the rest of the Ordenstaat; Trikāta is atypical showing significant impact following the crusades with many other palaeoenvironmental studies only revealing more limited impact from the 14th century and later. Subsequent wars and changes in political control in the post-medieval period had little apparent effect on agricultural land use.
... Huge phosphorus values and a high frequency of coprophilous fungal spores, as well as ova of Trichuris and Ascaris, indicate strong pollution with faecal material (van Geel et al. 2003;Oonk et al. 2009b;Bosi et al. 2011;Brinkkemper and Van Haaster 2012), which could have partly originated from draught animals used for transportation of goods. It is, however, worth noting that on archaeological sites, phosphorus is one of the most important human indicators, not only associated with animal husbandry but also considered a good sign of the processing and storage of food, waste deposits, burning of organic matter, and the presence of human faeces (Wilson et al. 2008;Cook et al. 2014;Stivrins et al. 2015). ...
... Our data show atmospheric pollution by the heavy metals copper, zinc and lead accelerating at around AD 1200. As at other archaeological sites, these elements can be associated with metal working and various crafts, as well as with burning (Wilson et al. 2008;Cook et al. 2014;Stivrins et al. 2015). Increasing values indicate that humaninduced atmospheric pollution by heavy metals had begun already in prehistory (Hong et al. 1994;de Vleeschouwer et al. 2010). ...
Article
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This paper describes the analyses of pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, macroremains and geochemistry in sediments from archaeological excavations at Wyspa Spichrzów (“Granary Island”) in Gdańsk, northern Poland. The aim of this study was to reconstruct the environmental conditions in this part of the town in the period preceding its occupation and during its transformation with the establishment of a trade centre and an increasing number of granaries, warehouses and workshops. The results show that this area was originally covered by wetlands typical of river oxbows, with a landscape formed by alder woods, shallow pools of water, fens and patches of wet meadows. Around the 9th–10th centuries, a distinct lowering of the groundwater table reduced the pools, and the alder stands also reduced. These changes coincided with the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. Drying of the ground could have been an important factor enabling expansion of settlement in the Gdańsk area. Between the 10th and 13th–14th centuries, the area around the investigated sites was probably used as pasture, as shown by high frequencies of coprophilous fungal spores. A large representation of cereal pollen and pollen and macroremains of field weeds reflects crop transport and storage on the island from ca. the 13th/14th centuries in the northern part of the area and the 15th/16th centuries in its southern part. The increasing human impact caused development of a rich flora associated with human activities, habitat enrichment by nitrogen and phosphorus, and heavy metal pollution from the beginning of the 13th century.
... Increases in Ti concentrations are widely documented as being a reliable indicator of soil erosion resulting from human activity as it is both chemically stable and unaffected by biological transformations (Lomas-Clarke and Barber, 2007;Brown et al., 2015). For example, the evidence for Ti concentrations in the lake adjacent to the castle at Āraiši in central Latvia as well as in Lake Trikātas suggests that soil erosion began prior to 1200 CE ( Stivrins et al., 2015). In addition, higher Fe/Mn ratio reflects similar evidence of increased soil erosion (Fig. 5). ...
Article
Anthropogenic impacts on lake ecosystems have increased substantially towards the present. However, the strength and timing in most cases are not evaluated in detail, missing valuable information on the response and recovery of an aquatic system. In this study, we use the sediment total organic carbon/total nitrogen ratio (C/N) and inductively coupled-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) elements and the available information about the biological processes to explore anthropogenic land use impact on the lake ecosystem. As a case study we selected a hemiboreal lake Trikātas (Latvia, NE Europe). The Pearson correlation was used to statistically test the correlations of all variables. Our results show that the C/N ratio lowered immediately with the onset of crop cultivation at 500 BCE. Extensive forest clearance and an abrupt increase in land use are reflected through the associated chemical elements from ICP-OES and the increasing presence of herbivore dung spores since 1200 CE. These changes concur with the excess of fish remains suggesting a decrease in fish populations. Interestingly, anthropogenic land use driven erosion and accompanied calcium carbonate (CaCO3) matter influx favoured the abundance of Chara spp. in Lake Trikātas since 500 CE, which currently forms the protected specific habitat-type (H3140) of the European Union. At present, specific submerged macrophyte Chara habitat-type diminished almost entirely due to increased nutrient input, phytoplankton blooming, hypertrophic conditions and reduced light availability. The continued land use practices led to a switch in organic matter source in the lake from macrophytes to solely algal origin. The current study underlines the need of additional methods used to detect the sensitivity of lake ecosystem to external disturbances such as minor anthropogenic land use that might not necessarily be apparent in more traditional analyses such as palynology.
... LG, Holocene Methodological development, functional and phylogenetic diversity Schwörrer et al. (2015) Switzerland Mid Holocene Forest dynamics and human impact Stivrins et al. (2015) Latvia Late Holocene Human impact Åkesson et al. (2015) Sweden Holocene Vegetation history ...
... According to Vasks et al. (1999), farming became the dominant form of economy in Latvia in the middle of the Bronze Age (ca 3 000 cal BP). Significant changes in the terrestrial environment induced by human activity as indicated from palynological data appear only in the last two millennia (Stivrins et al. 2014). ...
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A multi-indicator paleolimnological study of sediments from Lake Ķūži (central Latvia) was used to obtain a comprehensive record of environmental changes in the Holocene. Periodicity in the changes and the main drivers (lake basin development, catchment properties, climate, human activities) of the sedimentary record was studied. In order to comprehend the whole-lake sedimentation during the Holocene, a detailed multiindicator record from the central part of the lake was integrated with records of sediment mass accumulation rates from four cores from different parts of the lake and a GPR (ground-penetrating radar) survey of the lake basin. The observed changes in the sedimentation regime that took place during the early Holocene are strongly linked with variations in climatic conditions, but the catchment and lake basin also played an important role. In the middle Holocene the water level was stable and the lake was influenced by climate mediated through changes in the catchment vegetation. Around 5 000 cal. BP sedimentation pattern changed, and three of the four main drivers made a comparably strong impact on the sedimentary signal. Since 2 000 cal. BP multiple indicators point to a major disturbance clearly related to human activity, which conceals the impact of the natural drivers.
... In Latvia S. cereale pollen is recorded from the end of the Early Iron Age, i.e. the end of the 1st millennium BC, it was identified at the Renda depression in western Latvia (Kalnina et al. 2004). S. cereale type pollen becomes abundant in sample cores only from the middle of the 1st millennium AD-it was found in Araiši lake sediments dated to circa cal AD 400 (Stivrins et al. 2015) and in eastern Latvia from cal AD 450 (Stivrins et al. 2014). In Trikata Lake in northern Latvia the earliest S. cereale pollen appeared in cal AD 750, although agricultural activity in the region is recorded from around 500 cal BC (Stivrins et al. 2016). ...
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In this paper we review the earliest Secale (rye) records, both pollen and macroremains, from the eastern Baltic region (northeast Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland) in order to understand the processes evident in the beginnings of rye cultivation. By taking note of the abundance of recovered Secale grains and pollen in relation to other cereals found in published archaeobotanical data, we try to understand when rye began to be used regionally as a staple food. The clarification of the timing of Secale in the East Baltic, that had social and economic implications, is of particular importance. In this publication we also present a radiocarbon date directly derived from dating a Secale grain from a Roman period hillfort in Lithuania. The date obtained constitutes the earliest record of Secale in the eastern Baltic region, showing that rye cultivation traditions and concomitant innovations in agricultural technology started there much earlier than previously suggested.
... Contexts of archaeological sites from the northern provinces of the Roman Empire, excavated structures as well as iconography (e. g. tombstones) and different inscriptions in gem and vessels associated with beer making or drinking suggest that Romans themselves also regularly consumed beer⁶⁰. So, Celtic and German archaeological records, written sources and our most recent study allow to propose that in the West Lithuanian burial grounds the miniature funerary pots, as beakers, were being placed in the burials filled with beverage made from barley and/or oats, which might Czeczuga/Kossacka 1973;Stančikaitė et al. 2002;Kalniņa et al. 2004;Mellin-Wyczółkowska 2007;Karczewski 2011;Pollmann 2014;Stivrins at al. 2015; Grikpėdis/Motuzaitė Matuzevičiūtė 2016; Tvauri/ Vanhanen 2016. ...
Article
Die vorliegende Studie präsentiert die Ergebnisse einer integrierten interdisziplinären Untersuchung von Rückständen verkohlten organischen Materials bzw. Lebensmittelkrusten, die auf der inneren Keramikoberfläche haften und eine wertvolle Informationsquelle für die menschliche Ernährung darstellen. FTIR und Isotopenverhältnis-Massenspektrometrie wurden verwendet, um Haushaltsgefäßen und Miniaturtöpfen zu analysieren, die in der Zeit zwischen dem 3. und der Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts in Westlitauen mit Toten als Beigaben in Vestattungen gelangten. Die δ¹³C-Isotopenanalyse zeigt einen beträchtlichen Unterschied zwischen den Rückständen von Haushalts-und Grabkeramik. Die δ¹³C-Isotopenverhältnisse in den Proben von Miniaturpotentiometern variieren von −28,0 ‰ bis −28,8 ‰. Isotopenwerte in einem relativ engen Bereich weisen darauf hin, dass in den Töpfen vorhandenes organisches Material ähnlichen Ursprungs war. δ¹³C-Isotopenverhältniswerte lassen vermuten, dass niedergelgte Miniaturtöpfe mit Bier aus Gerste und/oder Hafer gefüllt waren. Der δ¹⁵N-Isotopenwert (δ¹⁵N = 8,0 ‰) und die Carboxyl-Gruppe der C-O-Gruppe sowie die Polysaccharide zeigen das Vorhandensein von Proteinen in einigen der Miniaturtöpfen an, so dass außerdem angenommen werden kann, dass diese mit fermentiertem Milchgetränk gefüllt waren. Die Miniaturtöpfe wurden in den Bestattungen platziert und mit einer symbolischen Menge Bier oder fermentierten Getränken auf Milchbasis gefüllt (40/50 bis 100 ml). Das Kohlenstoffisotopenverhältnis der Haushaltsgefäße variierte von −23,9 ‰ bis −27,9 ‰, was auf eine auf Getreide vom Typ C3 basierende Ernährung hindeutet. Die aus organischen Rückständen gewonnenen δ¹⁵N-Werte liegen zwischen 3,1 ‰ und 9,9 ‰, was als Hinweis zu verstehen ist, dass Bestandteil der menschlichen Ernähung auch Pflanzen-und Allesfresser waren. Zusammenfassend zeigt die Analyse, dass die konsumierte Nahrung terrestrischen Ursprungs ist und aus der Landwirtschaft und der Tierzucht stammt.
... The study site Lake Āraiši is located (57°15′N, 25°17′E) in central Latvia, northeastern Europe ( Fig. 1) at an elevation of 120 m above sea level. The area of the lake is 32.6 ha (with a catchment area of 10 km 2 ), and it has a flow-through hydrological regime and a mean and maximum depth of 4.0 and 12.3 m, respectively (Stivrins et al., 2015a). The shores are flat except for the east-south shore which is steep, surrounded by scattered stands of Alnus incana/glutinosa, Betula pendula/pubescens, Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris and Quercus robur. ...
Article
This study seeks to explain how the large herbivore (large vertebrate, megafauna – terrestrial taxa with adults >45 kg) population density changed during abrupt postglacial climate and environmental change. The Lateglacial and Early Holocene (14600–8300 years ago) were represented by various environmental and climate changes and a transition from a cold to a warm climate, with subsequent changes in flora and fauna. Using Lake Āraiši as a case study (Latvia, northeastern Europe), local to regional vegetation was reconstructed by analysing plant macroremains and pollen from the lake sediment profile. Here, we present the first dung fungus spore-based qualitative reconstruction of large herbivore population density from northeastern Europe. Although there was no distinct pattern of large herbivore population variability during the Lateglacial and Early Holocene, higher densities were suggested during warm and relatively stable climatic and environmental conditions. Our findings imply that herbivores did not constantly live at high densities around one lake but rather were dynamic and moved/migrated according to their needs. Because large herbivores reintroduced today live in reserves (commonly fixed areas surrounded by physical borders), they might be more vulnerable to rapid climatic and environmental change compared to those mammals that lived during the Lateglacial and Early Holocene. Hence, they would have only two possible options – adapt or go extinct.
... While no similar integrated geoarchaeological studies have been undertaken on other Teutonic Order castles in the eastern Baltic, pollen evidence from across Livonia suggests that agricultural intensification was most apparent around the key urban centres and castles where their establishment involved new concentration of people and animals (e.g. Banerjea et al. 2017;Brown et al. 2017;Stivrins et al. 2015). By comparison, rural areas show a measure of continuity in land-use from the preceding late Iron Age, with little evidence for intensification until the fourteenth century; castles and urban centres therefore play an important role in understanding changing patterns of food procurement and land-use associated with the early years of the Crusades. ...
Article
The integrated results of micromorphology, plant macrofossil, pollen, phytolith, and non-pollen palynomorph analyses represent an important study of two thirteenth-century Teutonic Order castles at Karksi (Livonia), and Elbląg (Prussia). The research examines deposits that formed during the period of active crusading. At Karksi, the investigation of a midden and of the organic-rich sediment beneath allows the diachronic use of this area to be understood. Freshwater aquatic indicators are consistent with the occurrence of shallow stagnant water, as also suggested by a waterlaid pond sediment identified in thin-section. Coprophilous spore taxa suggest the use of the pond as a watering hole. Plant macrofossils from the midden represent a range of habitats, mostly from wet/damp areas, as well as pastures and meadows, and also woodlands. Fragments of millet are embedded within herbivore dung in thin-section showing the use of this grain as fodder. At Elbląg, parasite ova may derive from animal feces as they also occur in the dung observed in thin-section, and a range of coprophilous fungal spore taxa were extracted. The results reveal information about the range of livestock that the Teutonic Knights kept, whereabouts within the castles the animals were stabled, and what fodder was used.
... Yet human activities, for example, forest industry, disturbance by fire, and grazing, have also significantly influenced forest composition during the last millennia (e.g. Behre, 1988;Bradshaw, 2004;Carter et al., 2018;Feurdean et al., 2017aFeurdean et al., , 2017bLedig, 1992;Marcisz et al., 2017;Stivrins et al., 2015). Comparing long-term environmental records from regions where human activity was relatively low versus relatively high offers an opportunity to evaluate ecosystem resilience against climate variability in Europe. ...
Article
Long-term ecological studies can provide useful information on forest ecosystem resilience against past climatic change and human caused disturbances. Here, we present a high-resolution 2200-year-long record of forest development in north-eastern Poland, Suwalki region, using paleobotanical proxies (pollen, plant macrofossils, and charcoal). We show that the pollen abundance of deciduous trees was higher than that of coniferous trees, indicating a near pristine state until 900 AD and a semi-natural forest state until 1500 AD. After 1500 AD, the proportion of coniferous tree taxa surpassed that of deciduous trees and have since remained the dominant forest component. The 17th century experienced massive deforestation coupled with a new phase of human colonization in the area that led to the continued and significant decline of deciduous tree cover, for example, Carpinus, Quercus, and Tilia. Cooling associated with the Little Ice Age may have played a role in Picea’s expansion in this area after 1450 AD. Despite significant climatic shifts associated with the warmer Roman Period or Medieval Climate Anomaly and colder Migration Period, as well as a more sustained human impact, Quercus remained a stable forest component until 1500 AD. The stability of Quercus is an important aspect for forest management strategies as future projections suggest warmer conditions and increased frequency of climate extremes will impact forest composition and structure. Our long-term data suggest that forests in the Suwałki region should contain more abundant deciduous tree species, that is, Quercus, whereas conifer cover should be reduced. We also show clear regional differences in the forest development in the Suwałki region, highlighting the importance of local hydrology, geomorphology, and degrees of human activity on the forest composition.
... However, there is now a significant and increasing body of palynological data covering the last two millennia for northern Poland and for the south-eastern Baltic region more generally (e.g. Veski et al., 2005;Latałowa et al., 2009;Lamentowicz et al., 2008;Noryśkiewicz, 2013;Szal et al., 2014Szal et al., , 2016Wacnik et al., 2014Wacnik et al., , 2016Poska et al., 2014;Pędziszewska and Latałowa, 2015;Brown et al., 2015;Stivriņš et al., 2015Stivriņš et al., , 2016, recently synthesised in Brown and Pluskowski (2014) and Brown (2019a,b). The rich cultural context and detailed pollen profiles present an excellent opportunity to apply statistical methods for modelling pollen data alongside traditional percentage data, to investigate the nuances of past environmental change, situated and contextualised within the wider body of palynological, historical and archaeological data from the region. ...
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This paper presents the first quantitative past land cover reconstructions for northern Poland using the Landscape Reconstruction Algorithm (LRA), interpreted alongside traditional percentage pollen data and historical sources. These data are used to evaluate the impact of cultural change on past vegetation and land use in northern Poland during the last 2000 years. Vegetation change and land-use are apparent corresponding to the late Roman Iron Age (1st to 3rd centuries), Migration Period (4th–7th centuries), early Medieval (8th to early 13th centuries) and late medieval (early-13th to mid-15th centuries). The Roman Iron Age is characterized by significant land cover estimates for meadowland, likely part of a broad spectrum agricultural strategy. Widespread depopulation and woodland regrowth characterize the Migration Period, followed by the progressive clearance of woodland from the 7th/8th centuries corresponding to Slavic colonisation. Polish control of the region from the mid-10th century is accompanied by intensification in agricultural land-use. However, archaeological evidence for increasing settlement instability during the 11th/12th centuries is not obviously apparent in the palynological data. This likely reflects the sporadic nature and uneven impact of conflict, but also the difficulty in resolving short-term events in the palynological record. Significant woodland clearance occurred prior to the crusades, with the consequence that there is no clearly identifiable horizon of significant landscape change associated with the arrival of the Teutonic Order. However, large tracts of woodland survived in sparsely populated frontier zones and in areas with poor agricultural soils, managed as part of an extensive provisioning network covering the Teutonic Order's state.
... However, there is a growing body of palaeoenvironmental data from the region covering the late Iron Age and medieval periods that demonstrates the high degree of chronological and spatial variation in patterns of vegetation change and land-use (e.g. Veski, Koppel, and Poska 2005;Latałowa, Święta-Musznicka, and Pędziszewska 2009;Lamentowicz et al. 2008;Noryśkiewicz 2013;Poska et al. 2014;Szal et al. 2014Szal et al. , 2016Wacnik et al. 2014, Wacnik et al. 2016Pędziszewska and Latałowa 2016;Brown et al. 2015Brown et al. , 2019Stivrins et al. 2015Stivrins et al. , 2016, reflecting the complex and divergent patterns of pre-and post-conquest settlement and society across the new theocratic state. Livonia differs critically from Prussia in seeing lower levels of colonisation following the crusades, with migrants restricted largely to towns and castles, and with a greater survival of indigenous populations. ...
Article
During the late Iron Age, the eastern Baltic was inhabited by Finno-Ugric and Baltic speaking societies whose territories were conquered in the thirteenth century as a result of the crusades. This paper examines the degree to which indigenous landscapes were transformed as a result of the crusades, and the evidence for maintenance of indigenous land-use practices. Vegetation and land-use history are reconstructed using palynological data from Cēsis castle and its terriitory. Comparison is made with selected palynological, archaeological and documentary data across Livonia (Latvia and Estonia) and contrasted with the greater impact of the crusades in nearby Prussia. Despite the emergence of key power centres in the medieval period, including towns and castles such as Cēsis, many parts of the rural landscape remained largely unchanged by the crusades, particularly in those more marginal landscapes studied in this paper. Lower intensity land-use can be linked to poor agricultural soils but also reflect the limited colonisation of rural landscapes beyond the major towns and castles. Indigenous societies and practices survived to a greater degree, with later agricultural intensification in the fourteenth century reflecting the increasing political stability, growth of urban centres, establishment of serfdom and the development of the manorial system.
... It provides information on how plants were used by people (Wasylikowa 1978;Behre 1983;Märkle 2005;Mariotti Lippi et al. 2013) and on the effects of human activity upon the flora and vegetation during the stages of settlement development (Brun 2009;Pokorná 2017). Complex palaeoenvironmental studies based on different methods are also undertaken more and more often to reconstruct the ecological context of the progressing town development (Hall and Kenward 2004;Kisielienė et al. 2012;Kozáková et al. 2014;Stivrins et al. 2015). Combined results from pollen and macroscopic plant and animal remains in the natural sediments, cultural layers and other archaeological contexts make it possible to reconstruct past local ecosystems in particular periods at the urban centres (Latałowa 1999;Bosi et al. 2011;Pokorná et al. 2014). ...
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This paper reviews the results of the many years of investigations on the ecological aspects of settlement development in the oldest districts of the city of Gdańsk, the impacts of the changing climate and growing human pressure on the local environment, as well as the question of plant use by the inhabitants during the Middle Ages. Before the settlement was established, the landscape was dominated by alder woods and shallow water bodies of the extensive wetlands in the Wisła estuary. An important factor making settlement possible was probably the lowering of the water table around the 9th–10th centuries ad, causing a reduction of wetland. Archaeobotanical results are consistent with archaeological data on the periods at which particular town districts were settled. They provide evidence of the earliest changes to the natural environment, starting in the Stare Miasto (“Old Town”) in the 11th–12th centuries, in the Główne Miasto (“Main Town”) in the 12th–13th centuries, and on Wyspa Spichrzów (“Granary Island”) during the 13th–14th centuries. The gradual expansion of the town caused a diversification of the local flora. Natural wetland communities and semi-natural wet meadows and pastures were still common within the settled area until the 14th century. On the other hand, the rapid spread of built-up areas, roads and gardens allowed the growth of ruderal vegetation there. Archaeobotanical and historical evidence shows the diverse and changing plant foods in the diet of the inhabitants during the Middle Ages.
Book
This book provides the reader with the first introduction to palaeoecology (also spelt paleoecology). This book has been designed to serve as an additional source of information for students. The book can offer essential perspectives and methodological frameworks for students who will gain an understanding of the ecological processes of decadal to centennial timescales. The topics covered in this book are also relevant to a broader audience interested in understanding the functionality of present and past ecosystems including environmental and climate change. https://www.amazon.com/Principles-Palaeoecology-Normunds-Stivrins-ebook/dp/B08337YMN8/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Principles+of+Palaeoecology&qid=1577356058&sr=8-1
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Disturbances by fire are essential for the functioning of boreal/hemiboreal forests, but knowledge of long-term fire regime dynamics is limited. We analysed macrocharcoal morphologies and pollen of a sediment record from Lake Lielais Svētiņu (eastern Latvia), and in conjunction with fire traits analysis present the first record of Holocene variability in fire regime, fuel sources and fire types in boreal forests of the Baltic region. We found a phase of moderate to high fire activity during the cool and moist early (mean fire return interval; mFRI of ∼280 years; 11,700–7500 cal yr BP) and the late (mFRI of ∼190 years; 4500–0 cal yr BP) Holocene and low fire activity (mFRI of ∼630 years) during the Holocene Thermal Optimum (7500–4500 cal yr BP). Charcoal morphotypes and the pollen record show the predominance of frequent surface fires, occasionally transitioning to the crown during Pinus sylvestris-Betula boreal forests and less frequent surface fires during the dominance of temperate deciduous forests. In contrast to the prevailing opinion that fires in boreal forests are mostly low to moderate severity surface fires, we found evidence for common occurrence of stand-replacing crown fires in Picea abies canopy. Our results highlight that charcoal morphotypes analysis allows for distinguishing the fuel types and surface from crown fires, therefore significantly advancing our interpretation of fire regime. Future warmer temperatures and increase in the frequency of dry spells and abundant biomass accumulation can enhance the fire risk on the one hand, but will probably promote the expansion of broadleaf deciduous forests to higher latitudes, on the other hand. By highlighting the capability of broadleaf deciduous forests to act as fire-suppressing landscape elements, our results suggest that fire activity may not increase in the Baltic area under future climate change.
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Abstract. The Eurasian (née European) Modern Pollen Database (EMPD) was established in 2013 to provide a public database of high-quality modern pollen surface samples to help support studies of past climate, land-cover and land-use using fossil pollen. The EMPD is part of, and complementary to, the European Pollen Database (EPD) which contains data on fossil pollen found in Late Quaternary sedimentary archives throughout the Eurasian region. The EPD is in turn part of the rapidly growing Neotoma database, which is now the primary home for global palaeoecological data. This paper describes version 2 of the EMPD in which the number of samples held in the database has been increased by 60 % from 4826 to 8134. Much of the improvement in data coverage has come from Northern Asia, and the database has consequently been renamed the Eurasian Modern Pollen Database to reflect this geographical enlargement. The EMPD can be viewed online using a dedicated mapbased viewer at https://empd2.github.io , and downloaded in a variety of file formats at https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.909130 (Chevalier et al., 2019).
Article
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The Eurasian (née European) Modern Pollen Database (EMPD) was established in 2013 to provide a public database of high-quality modern pollen surface samples to help support studies of past climate, land-cover and land-use using fossil pollen. The EMPD is part of, and complementary to, the European Pollen Database (EPD) which contains data on fossil pollen found in Late Quaternary sedimentary archives throughout the Eurasian region. The EPD is in turn part of the rapidly growing Neotoma database, which is now the primary home for global palaeoecological data. This paper describes version 2 of the EMPD in which the number of samples held in the database has been increased by 60% from 4826 to 8134. Much of the improvement in data coverage has come from Northern Asia, and the database has consequently been renamed the Eurasian Modern Pollen Database to reflect this geographical enlargement. The EMPD can be viewed online using a dedicated mapbased viewer at https://empd2.github.io, and downloaded in a variety of file formats at https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.909130 (Chevalier et al., 2019).
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Pollen, charcoal and geochemical investigations were carried out on annually laminated sediments of Lake Żabińskie (54°07′54.5″N; 21°59′01.1″E) and the results were combined with historical and climate data to better understand the mechanism behind plant cover transformations. A millennium-long record of environmental history at 6-years time resolution permitted an assessment of vegetation responses to past human impact and climate fluctuations. Our results show that the history of the region with repeated periods of warfare, epidemics, famine and crop failures is well reflected by environmental proxies. Before the Teutonic Order crusade (ad 1230–1283), agricultural activities of the Prussian tribes were conducted at a distance from the studied lake and caused slight disturbances of local forests. A stronger human impact was registered after ca ad 1460. We confirm that co-domination of pine forests with spruce and oak-hornbeam forests on drier habitats as well as the presence of birch and alder woods on wet surfaces near the lake lasted until ad 1610. We identified a transition period of 20 years between ad 1590 and 1610, when forest cover was significantly reduced and the area was partly transformed into open land used for farming activities. The comparison of our data with other pollen datasets from the region confirms significant spatio-temporal differences in the initiation of large-scale woodland clearings in the Great Masurian Lake District. A strong increase in local cultivation was noted after ad 1750 and became even stronger in the period ad 1810–1940. The last 60 years experienced a succession from arable fields and open grasslands to more tree-covered habitats overgrown by birch and alder.
Chapter
For a long time, the Eastern Baltic region was terra incognita within the international literature on cultivated plants. With the intensification of archaeobotanical studies and direct radiocarbon dating of cultivated plant species, the data on the introduction of various crop species in this region have started to accumulate, although they are still scattered in reports and papers in local languages. Therefore, it seems timely to present a synthesis of all existing macrobotanical data. In addition, we present a few AMS radiocarbon dates of directly dated remains of crops, as the primary data for this article. Our review of currently available archaeobotanical material shows that there is no firm evidence to suggest plant cultivation in the Eastern Baltic region during the Neolithic period. The earliest radiocarbon-dated macroremains of Hordeum vulgare come from the middle of the Bronze Age. During the 1st millennium BCE, a much broader spectrum of domestic plants starts to be cultivated, including H. vulgare, Triticum spelta, T. dicoccum, Panicum miliaceum, Pisum sativum, Vicia faba and Camelina sativa. Secale cereale and naked wheats (T. aestivum/durum, T. compactum) are found only from the Roman period onwards. During the Roman and Migration periods, a few sites already have rye and naked wheats as the dominant crop species. However, rye does not start to dominate the broader economy of the Eastern Baltic population until the end of the 1st millennium AD. Linum usitatissimum and Cannabis sativa are poorly represented during the 1st millennium AD; however, they may have been cultivated since the Roman period. Avena sativa was present during the Roman period, unfortunately, the current dataset is too poor to justify speculating on its importance at that time. Finally, crops such as Fagopyrum esculentum, Lens culinaris and few others appear from c. the 13th–14th century AD, completing the array of cultivated plant species until the Columbian crop arrival.
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An Iron Age timber settlement which, in view of the defensive structures uncovered, is described as a lake fortress, on an island in Lake Āraiši, north-eastern Latvia, was excavated in 1965–69 and 1975–79 by teams led by Jānis Apals, who distinguished five construction phases. Dendrochronological analysis produced a c. 100-year floating chronology for Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) timbers from the earliest phase. A 14C wiggle-match was undertaken to obtain an absolute date range for the final year of the floating chronology, and thus for the construction of the settlement. Ten blocks of wood from one timber, each comprising 6-11 years and collectively spanning the whole 93-year tree-ring series, were dated by AMS. Using the IntCal13 calibration data, there is a 95% probability that the felling date of this timber falls in the range 775–784 cal AD. It appears, however, that the AD 775 spike in the atmospheric 14C level occurred within the 6-year span of the last sample. On this basis, we can narrow the date of construction to 776–780 cal AD. This date is significantly earlier than those reported in previous publications.
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The Archaeology of the Prussian Crusade explores the archaeology and material culture of the crusade against the Prussian tribes in the 13th century, and the subsequent society created by the Teutonic Order which lasted into the 16th century. It provides the first synthesis of the material culture of a unique crusading society created in the south-eastern Baltic region over the course of the 13th century. It encompasses the full range of archaeological data, from standing buildings through to artefacts and ecofacts, integrated with written and artistic sources. The work is sub-divided into broadly chronological themes, beginning with a historical outline, exploring the settlements, castles, towns and landscapes of the Teutonic Order’s theocratic state and concluding with the role of the reconstructed and ruined monuments of medieval Prussia in the modern world in the context of modern Polish culture. This is the first work on the archaeology of medieval Prussia in any language, and is intended as a comprehensive introduction to a period and area of growing interest. This book represents an important contribution to promoting International awareness of the cultural heritage of the Baltic region, which has been rapidly increasing over the last few decades.
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The use of non-pollen palynomorphs, and among them spores of coprophilous fungi, has become greatly important in palaeoecological studies. Particularly, the genus Sporormiella has been demonstrated to be the most valuable proxy for the presence of wild and domestic herbivores. This genus could also be used to determine livestock density and reconstruct pastoral pressure during the Holocene. Non-standard counting methods have been established to determine coprophilous fungal spore abundance in sediments. Moreover, these analyses are faced with the recurrent problem of setting the minimum counting sum as small as possible to save time. We researched the reliability of Sporormiella concentration estimates based on different counting sums, using low to high count samples. Box-plots indicate that the variability of inferred Sporormiella concentrations decreases progressively with increasing sums. Statistical comparisons show that the means of box-plots became stabilised after the counts have reached 300–350 exotic marker grains. Moreover, a count of 300–350 exotic marker grains is sufficient to produce a Sporormiella concentration estimate, whatever the amount. Finally, we propose that this counting limit is valid for other fungal spores as well.
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We present the postglacial history of vegetation, human activities and changes in lake level in the context of climate change in northeast Poland from ~14,000 cal. b.p. to the present day. The palaeoecological reconstruction is based on the results of high-resolution plant macrofossil analyses as well as records from pollen, Cladocera and radiocarbon dating. Climate fluctuations and human activity have caused many changes in vegetation development in Jezioro Linówek and in the vicinity of this lake. The Early Holocene warming that occurred at ~9500 b.c. caused an increase in Betula and the colonisation of Linówek by Potamogeton lucens, Nymphaea alba and Chara sp. At ~2300 b.c., climate cooling was accompanied by the spread of Picea abies and the appearance of Potamogeton alpinus and Nuphar pumila in the lake. The first traces of farming in the form of Cerealia pollen have been dated back to ~2100 b.c. The cultivation of Triticum began at ~250 b.c., Secale at ~a.d. 550, and Fagopyrum at ~a.d. 1720. The rapid increase in human activity at ~a.d. 1700 and the simultaneous loss of woodland is associated with the establishment of villages in the area and is expressed by the decline of tree curves. In Linówek, which was formed ~14,000 cal. b.p., three periods of high water level occurred (12000–9400, 7000–4000 and 1450 b.c.–a.d. 650), and two periods of low water level (9400–7100 and 3700–1700 b.c.). The changes of water level correspond well with other sites in central and northern Europe.
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Sporopollenin layers in the cell wall of coccal green algae are responsible for the resistance of cell walls to destructive processes during fossilization as well as during chemical preparation of samples for pollen-analysis. Pollen slides of samples from limnic sediments thus also contain some algal cell walls. Although some pollen-analysts tried to stress this fact, the finds of algae in pollen slides have not been paid systematic attention yet, despite their potential use for a more accurate palaeoecological reconstruction. The article summarizes the results of palaeoecological studies showing how the algae can be used in palaeoecological reconstruction of past environments. The possibility of utilizing the indicative value of algal finds is demonstrated on examples of algal communities from fossil, subrecent and recent sediments from different longitudes, latitudes, and altitudes. The identification and indicative values of species and varieties ofPediastrum are included in a special review (Komárek & Jankovská, Biblioth. Phycol., in press). The contemporary knowledge of ecological requirements of the given taxa, completed by information from their fossil finds, makes possible the reconstruction of trophic and temperature conditions and of the purity of the water environment of the past water biotopes.
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The IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon calibration curves have been revised utilizing newly available and updated data sets from 14C measurements on tree rings, plant macrofossils, speleothems, corals, and foraminifera. The calibration curves were derived from the data using the random walk model (RWM) used to generate IntCal09 and Marine09, which has been revised to account for additional uncertainties and error structures. The new curves were ratified at the 21st International Radiocarbon conference in July 2012 and are available as Supplemental Material at www.radiocarbon.org. The database can be accessed at http://intcal.qub.ac.uk/intcal13/. © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.
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The spores of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), microorganisms which occur belowground, are recognized as important indicators of erosion in palaeoecological reconstructions. In this study, the indicative value of the AMF was examined in peat deposits. A combination of palaeoecological methods, involving loss on ignition (LOI) and palynological analysis, and mycological techniques, including the assessment of AMF colonization of roots and AMF trap cultures, was used. A layer with abundant AMF spores parallel to other erosion indicators was thereby examined. The results clearly proved that the application of AMF spores as erosion indicators in peat deposits is highly questionable because the spores may have been produced by mycorrhizal mycelia related to AMF host plants whose roots have grown into the layer where the deposits lie. Nonetheless, AMF should still be considered as important markers of episodes of higher downwash in continuous lacustrine sediments.
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The pollen composition of the uppermost part of sediments formed during the last hundred years in four lakes located in different landscapes (open agricultural land, for- ested area, ombrotrophic bog) in Estonia was studied. The pollen of land-use indicator taxa are arranged into three groups: indicators of cultivated land, ruderal communities, and meadow and pasture land. We established clear differences in the pollen propor- tions of cultivated, ruderal and meadow plants, depending on the intensity of human impact around studied site. The temporal changes of the share of different human impact pollen indicators show especially good correlation with the history of land-use when the changes took place in the immediate vicinity of the lake (Ruusmäe). In those areas close to the actively used arable land the proportion of Cerealia pollen may reach 6%-8% of the total pollen sum. Values of Cerealia pollen of 1%-2% refl ect the back- ground values for the region.
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During the Pleistocene the territory of Latvia was repeatedly overridden by Scandinavian ice sheets, at least from the Elsterian onwards. Extent limit of all glaciations was located far outside of Latvia. Due to vigorous erosion by subsequent glaciations the Pleistocene record is incomplete. Radiocarbon, cosmogenic nuclide and radiation exposure dating methods have been mainly used only for age determination of the upper part of the Pleistocene sequence. Decay of the Late Weichselian glaciation in Latvia is marked by five major ice-marginal zones
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Historic and prehistoric human activity can cause accumulation of elements in the soil. Multielement soil analysis has been used extensively over the last two decades to study element patterns of historic soil enrichment as a means of prospecting for sites and as an aid to interpretation of space use within archaeological structures. However, there have been surprisingly few of studies designed to assist with the interpretation of the analytical results. In this investigation soils from six abandoned farms with a known history of spatial use were sampled to determine if similar patterns of trace element enhancement occur between different farms. The preliminary results show significant differences in soil elemental concentrations between the functional areas, and highlight similar patterns of element enhancement between the farms. Concentrations of Ca, P, Sr, Ba, Zn and Pb are elevated in the buildings and fields of all the farms and provide valuable information about past human activity.
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Documenting variation and change in the use of particular plants and plant parts for fuel in ancient households contributes to an understanding of settlement location, local and regional abandonments and resource depletion. Chemical analysis of ash surviving in hearths and other thermal features to determine the kinds and relative amounts of fuels consumed may be less biased by formation processes than the macrofossil record currently employed to document ancient fuel use. Our studies indicate that it is possible to distinguish, chemically, ash of common fuel taxa and tissue types (bark, wood, etc.) in both modern and ancient samples of fuels found in the northern Colorado Plateau region of the American Southwest. However, the chemical signatures of the ancient and modern material of the same taxon differ, indicating possible alteration by post-depositional processes. Although multiple regression performs well in determining the relative contributions of different fuels to modern ash mixtures, possible post-depositional alterations and incomplete characterization of the range of within-taxon variation, currently limit our confidence in applications of this approach to ancient ash from Pueblo III settlements in south-west Colorado.
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Baltic Sea water exchange is primarily governed by atmospheric forcing of the inflow of saline waters by strong westerly winds prevailing over the central North Atlantic and north-western Europe. Our sediment core study uses geochemical element records indicative of phytoplankton and cyanobacterial blooming as well as continent-derived mineral input for reconstructing hydrographic changes in the deeper Baltic Sea basins around AD 1200. An alkenone-based Sea Surface Temperature (SST) reconstruction for the relevant time span, AD 500-1500, is presented for another sediment core obtained from the shallow Isefjord located at the southern coast of the Kattegat at the entrance of the Baltic. At the termination of the Medieval Climate Anomaly at approximately AD 1200, the basin sediment facies and the geochemical records reveal an environmental change indicative of a marked decrease of inflow activity and marine productivity. This change coincides with a SST decrease and recently reported general fall in Kattegat sea level. A comparison with palaeo-climate data from the wider North Atlantic region demonstrates that this regime shift in Baltic Sea water exchange is linked to a large-scale change in ocean and atmosphere circulation from a dominating, positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO+) mode to more negative NAO conditions.
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Aim To assess statistically the relative importance of climate and human impact on forest composition in the late Holocene.Location Estonia, boreonemoral Europe. Methods Data on forest composition (10 most abundant tree and shrub taxa) for the late Holocene (5100–50 calibrated years before 1950) were derived from 18 pollen records and then transformed into land-cover estimates using the REVEALS vegetation reconstruction model. Human impact was quantified with palaeoecological estimates of openness, frequencies of hemerophilous pollen types (taxa growing in habitats influenced by human activities) and microscopic charcoal particles. Climate data generated with the ECBilt-CLIO- VECODE climate model provided summer and winter temperature data. The modelled data were supported by sedimentary stable oxygen isotope (d18O) records. Redundancy analysis (RDA), variation partitioning and linear mixed effects (LME) models were applied for statistical analyses. Results Both climate and human impact were statistically significant predic- tors of forest compositional change during the late Holocene. While climate exerted a dominant influence on forest composition in the beginning of the study period, human impact was the strongest driver of forest composition change in the middle of the study period, c. 4000–2000 years ago, when per- manent agriculture became established and expanded. The late Holocene cool- ing negatively affected populations of nemoral deciduous taxa (Tilia, Corylus, Ulmus, Quercus, Alnus and Fraxinus), allowing boreal taxa (Betula, Salix, Picea and Pinus) to succeed. Whereas human impact has favoured populations of early-successional taxa that colonize abandoned agricultural fields (Betula, Salix, Alnus) or that can grow on less fertile soils (Pinus), it has limited taxa such as Picea that tend to grow on more mesic and fertile soils. Main conclusions Combining palaeoecological and palaeoclimatological data from multiple sources facilitates quantitative characterization of factors driving forest composition dynamics on millennial time-scales. Our results suggest that in addition to the climatic influence on forest composition, the relative abun- dance of individual forest taxa has been significantly influenced by human impact over the last four millennia.
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This study uses the Holocene lake sediment of Lake Ķūži (Latvia, Vidzeme Heights) for environmental reconstruction with multi-proxy records including lithology, computerised axial tomography scan, grain-size analysis, geochemistry, diatoms and macrofossils, supported by AMS radiocarbon dating. Numerical analyses (PCA; CONISS) reveal three main phases in the development of the lake. Response to the Lateglacial–Holocene transition in Lake Ķūži took place around 11,300 cal. BP. Organogenic sedimentation started with distinctive 5-cm-thick peat layer and was followed by lacustrine sedimentation of carbonaceous gyttja. Several findings of the peat layer with similar dated age and position at different absolute altitudes indicate that lake basin was formed by glaciokarstic processes. In the Early Holocene (until around 8,500 cal. BP), the lake was shallow and holomictic, surrounded by unstable catchment with erosion and inflow events. Predominance of diatom species of Cyclotella and Tabellaria, large numbers of respiratory horns of phantom midge pupae (Chaoboridae), high Fe/Mn ratio, as well as the presence of laminated sediments indicates the transition to a dimictic and oligo-mesotrophic lake conditions with high water level, anoxia in the near-bottom and stable catchment in the Middle Holocene (8,500–2,000 cal. BP). This contrasts with many hydrologically sensitive lakes in Northern and Eastern Europe in which the water level fell several meters during this period. During the Late Holocene (from 2,000 cal. BP to the present), the lithological and biotic variables reveal major changes, such as the increase in erosion (coarser grain-size fraction) and eutrophication [diatoms Aulacoseira ambigua (Grun.) Sim., Stephanodiscus spp., Cyclostephanos dubius (Fricke) Round]. Characteristics of lake-catchment system during the Late Holocene reflect anthropogenic signal superimposed on the natural forcing factors. To date, the Late Quaternary palaeolimnological reconstructions using lake sediment has been limited in the Baltic region. Therefore, findings from Lake Ķūži provide important information about environmental and climatic changes that took place in this part of Eastern Europe. This study shows that the relative importance of climate and local factors has varied over the time and it is essential to consider the lake basin topography, catchment size and land cover as potential dominant forcing factors for changes in sedimentary signal.
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Modifications of the hydrology of the Florida Everglades began in the 1880s. Impacts due to changes in the hydrological regime, as well as nutrient enrichment are clear in the northern Everglades. Although these changes were more subtle in the southern Everglades, altered hydroperiods and plant communities are targeted for restoration. Identification of restoration goals requires knowledge of past conditions, but detailed vegetation surveys prior to the pre-drainage era are lacking. Palynological studies can help fill this void. Interpretations based upon pollen and plant spores alone are limited by low pollen production of the dominant marsh species and low plant diversity in the ecosystem. In some regions the occurrence of other microfossils present in palynological preparations has been used to help interpret hydrological regimes and nutrient status and here we explore that potential for paleoecological records from the Everglades.
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Remains of various ascomycetes, mainly ascospores, have been detected during palynological studies of lake sediments, peat deposits and samples from archaeological sites. Many taxa can be identified to genus or species level of extant taxa. Ascospore remains may sometimes give indications about the palaeohabitat: for instance, Amphisphaerella dispersella suggests the presence of Populus in the vicinity. Among the identified fungi are several species of the Sordariales, which are valuable dung indicators in archaeological sites. Coprophilous fungi also characterise samples from the Pleistocene mammoth steppe.
Book
Paleolimnology is a rapidly developing science that is now being used to study a suite of environmental and ecological problems. This volume is the fourth handbook in the Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research book series. The first volume (Last & Smol, 2001a) examined the acquisition and archiving of sediment cores, chronological techniques, and large-scale basin analysis methods. Volume 2 (Last & Smol, 2001b) focused on physical and chemical methods. Volume 3 (Smol et al. , 2001), along with this book, summarize the many biological methods and techniques that are available to study long-term environmental changeusing information preserved in sedimentary profiles. A subsequent volume (Birks et al. , in preparation) will deal with statistical and data handling procedures. It is our intent that these books will provide sufficient detail and breadth to be useful handbooks for both seasoned practitioners as well as newcomers to the area of paleolimnology. These books will also hopefully be useful to non-paleolimnologists (e. g. , limnologists, archeologists, palynologists, geographers, geologists, etc. ) who continue to hear and read about pal- limnology, but have little chance to explore the vast and sometimes difficult to access journal-based reference material for this rapidly expanding field. Although the chapters in these volumes target mainly lacustrine settings, many of the techniques described can also be readily applied to fluvial, glacial, marine, estuarine, and peatland environments. This current volume focuses on zoological indicators preserved in lake sediments, whilst Volume 3 focused on terrestrial, algal, and siliceous indicators.
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In dating the samples reported here as well as in calculating their ages, the same equipment and method of processing and counting were used which were previously described in Tartu I and II.
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Freshwater Algae: Identification and Use as Bioindicators provides a comprehensive guide to temperate freshwater algae, with additional information on key species in relation to environmental characteristics and implications for aquatic management. The book uniquely combines practical material on techniques and water quality management with basic algal taxonomy and the role of algae as bioindicators. Freshwater Algae: Identification and Use as Bioindicators is divided into two parts. Part I describes techniques for the sampling, measuring and observation of algae and then looks at the role of algae as bioindicators and the implications for aquatic management. Part II provides the identification of major genera and 250 important species. Well illustrated with numerous original illustrations and photographs, this reference work is essential reading for all practitioners and researchers concerned with assessing and managing the aquatic environment.
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Soil chemical analysis has been one of the most active and promising areas among the recent innovations in household archaeology. Ancient inhabitants unintentionally left chemical imprints of daily activities, providing important clues as to past practices and space use, which are difficult to judge from artifactual data alone. Soil chemical testing in the Maya region is particularly promising given the highly calcareous nature of the soils derived from the carbonate geology of the region, as calcium ions and soil alkalinity render phosphorous, iron, and other metallic ions insoluble. This paper reports the results of soil chemical analysis of modern and ancient residential structures at the archaeological park of Aguateca, Guatemala. An ethnoarchaeological study of the guards’ living quarters and archaeological data from rapidly abandoned Classic-period residences provided opportunities to refine an understanding of the relationship between human activities and soil chemical signatures. Both cases exhibited good correlations of high phosphorous concentrations in soils with food processing, consumption, and disposal. High levels of heavy metals in the modern structures probably derived from the filing of machetes and the disposal of flashlight batteries, whereas the use of mineral pigments and craft activities appear to have contributed to the concentrations of these elements in archaeological contexts.
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Prehistoric agriculture and vegetation in Lithuania have so far been reconstructed largely using palynological data. This paper reports the archaeobotanical investigation of macroremains from the Late Bronze-early Iron Age (LBA–EIA) lakeside settlement Luokesa 1 (L1) in eastern Lithuania, with the aim of elucidating the settlement’s history and crop diversity. The single phase settlement was fortified with an onshore palisade and is dated between 625 and 535 cal. bc. Samples were taken along a land to lake transect, and in the centre of L1. The stratigraphy consisted of three distinct layers: lake marl, cultural deposit and sandy limnic sediment on top. The plant spectrum shows that L1 was constructed on an exposed morainic shoal. It was surrounded by woodland, meadows, fields/gardens, ruderal habitats and riverine vegetation. Accumulated cultural deposits consisted mainly of manure (litter, fodder and dung of sheep/goat), with rubbish, sweepings from the houses or remains of the on-site vegetation. The crops were Panicum miliaceum, Triticum spelta, T. dicoccon, Hordeum vulgare s.l., Pisum sativum and Camelina sativa, the latter being the first prehistoric evidence in Lithuania. The trophic state of the lake increased during the occupation period. After the abandonment of the settlement the ruins decayed until the lake flooded the site. The results are discussed in a broader context of the LBA/EIA cultures in northern Central Europe.
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The history of the medieval Baltic is dominated by the crusading movement of the 13th to 15th centuries. The crusades resulted in significant changes to the organisation, ownership and administration of the landscape, with a significant shift in patterns of land use. However, our understanding of the environmental impact of the crusades has been almost exclusively informed by written sources. This paper synthesises existing palynological evidence for medieval landscape transformation in the southeast and eastern Baltic, focusing on the ecological impact of the crusading movement, and considers some key questions, challenges and priorities for future research.
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The following list includes C14 dates and deals with the results of the methodological investigations carried out at the Geobiochemical Laboratory of the Institute of Zoology and Botany of the Academy of Sciences of the Estonian SSR in 1967-1968. Wood dating from A.D. 1850 ± 10 yr has been used as a contemporary reference standard of modern carbon. All radiocarbon dates were cal-culated with the half-life of C14 being equal to 5568 + 30 yr. All dates have been calculated from the year 1950. In recent years several dating laboratories working by the scintilla-tion method have been using solid catalysts for the trimerization of acetylene in benzene (Clark et al., 1959; Noakes, 1965; Pietig and Schar-penseel, 1966). In our laboratory we have applied the alumosilicate-vanadium catalyst suggested by Arslanov and Gromova (1967). Tempered at 500°C, the granulated alumosilicate carrier was treated in vacuum with a solution containing 90 g of V205 and 270 g of (COOH)2 2 H2O in 0.5 1 of distilled water for 1 kg of the carrier. After washing with dis-tilled water, drying and tempering at 500°C the catalyst is ready for use. The absorption rate of C2H2 on the catalyst (50 g of the catalyst and 12 1 of C2H2) is 6 1 per hour. The benzene yield (calculated on the basis of C2H2) is 92 to 98%. The synthesis of carbide from carbonaceous samples is performed by the Barker method (1953) according to the formula: 660°C 2 CO2 + 10 Li --'> C2H2 + 4 Li2O When the molar ratio of CO2: Li equals 1:10, the C2H2 yield (on the basis of C02) accounts for 92%. An additional one-channel scintillation device has been assembled and adjusted (Ilves, 1969). With 25 ml of benzene, the pure count of modern carbon has been 147.96 + 0.23 cpm, the rate of the background was 8.31 + 0.054 cpm, the maximum determinable age being 49,800 yr (48 hrs counting, 4 Q criterion).
Article
The prehistoric lake settlement tradition is spread far beyond the region of the Alps, and it has been known for a long time that lake settlements are not a characteristic of one particular area. The present paper presents the results of the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary investigations of such types of sites in Lithuania, the two lake settlements at Lake Luokesa (Luokesai ežeras). They were excavated with underwater archaeology techniques between 2000 and 2011. They are Late Bronze to early Iron Age transition (LBA–EIA) in date and were probably built and inhabited during a short period between 625 and 535 cal bc. The excavated archaeological material contains a wealth of well-preserved wooden architectural details and other organic materials. Therefore, the importance and unique character of these sites is beyond question. This paper gives an overview of the history of research on lake settlements in northeastern Europe. In addition, the archaeological material of the LBA–EIA settlements at Lake Luokesa is evaluated in the context of the other lake settlements in the southeastern Baltic region. Existing hypotheses and interpretations of the origins, development and use of the lake settlements of this region are discussed. All the investigations which have been done, including archaeobotany, palynology, dendrochronology and geoarchaeology, provide data for a well-grounded interpretation and reconstruction of the Luokesa lake settlements.
Article
On the basis of sedimentological analysis of two cores taken at Chatillon, Lake Le Bourget (northern French Pre-Alps), and well dated by radiocarbon dates in addition to tree ring dates obtained from an archaeological layer, this paper presents a high-resolution lake-level record for the period 4500–3500 cal. a BP. The collected data provide evidence of a complex palaeohydrological (climatic) oscillation spanning the ca. 4300–3850 cal. BP time interval, with major lake-level maxima at ca. 4200 and 4050–3850 cal. a BP separated by a lowering episode around 4100 cal. a BP. The lake-level highstands observed at Chatillon between 4300 and 3850 cal. BP appear to be synchronous with (i) a major flooding period recorded in deep cores from the large lakes Le Bourget and Bodensee, and (ii) glacier advance and tree line decline in the Alps. Such wetter and cooler climatic conditions in west-central Europe around 4000 cal. a BP may have been a nonlinear response to decrease and seasonal changes in insolation. They may also provide a possible explanation for the general abandonment of prehistoric lake dwellings north of the Alps between 4360 and 3750 cal. a BP. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
We analysed pollen from a sediment core from Fiddaun, a small Lateglacial lake basin in western Ireland. Results reflect the general Lateglacial vegetation development in Ireland, as reconstructed from other pollen records. The Fiddaun diagram shows a number of short-lived regressive vegetation phases during the Interstadial. The close similarity between two pollen records from the same region (Fiddaun and Lurga) indicates that these fluctuations probably reflect regional rather than local changes. Comparison with a previously published climate reconstruction, based on a chironomid-inferred mean July air temperature reconstruction, lithology, and oxygen and carbon isotopes of lake marl from the Fiddaun record, allowed us to establish the relationship between summer temperature and vegetation changes. Results reveal that two temporary regressive shifts in the pollen record correspond to cold oscillations, which have been correlated to Greenland Interstadial 1b and 1d. It seems that the first cold oscillation (GI-1d) had the most distinct effect on vegetation in Ireland. In contrast, it appears that the transition from Juniperus shrubland and Empetrum heath to grassland, which is estimated at ∼13.7 ka BP, was not caused by decreasing summer temperatures, as no substantial change is observed in the climate proxies. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Detailed, chronologically tightly constrained, lake-sediment-based geochemical and pollen records have enabled local changes in soil erosion, woodland cover and composition, and prehistoric farming impact to be reconstructed in considerable detail. The profile opens shortly after 7800 BC when tall canopy trees are well established and presumably in equilibrium with their environment. A distinct perturbation that involved an increase in pine and birch, a decrease in oak and a minor opening-up of the woodland is regarded as the local expression of the 8.2 ka climate anomaly. Lack of response in the geochemical erosional indicators is interpreted as evidence for drier conditions. A short-lived, over-compensation in climate recovery followed the 8.2 ka event. Neolithic farming impact is clearly expressed in both the pollen and geochemical data. Both datasets indicate that Neolithic impact was concentrated in the early Neolithic (3715-3440 BC). In the interval 3000-2700 BC there appears to have been a break
Article
The importance of herbivory as a long-term driver of ecosystem change is a topic that has been hotly debated over the past few years. An understanding of the interaction between herbivores and ecosystems is particularly important for conservation policies aimed at re-wilding. Dung fungal spores have been highlighted as an important potential proxy to reconstruct large herbivore densities across past landscapes. However, this proxy appears to have been used and interpreted in a variety of ways in addition to highly variable taxonomic identification of dung fungal spores. Here we review studies that have utilised fungal spore assemblages to assess past herbivore presence and test the validity of this method. We aim to determine whether there is a set of identifiable dung fungal spores that can unequivocally track variation of large herbivore activity through time and across regions. Our meta-analysis identifies: (1) spore types that are commonly found to be indicative of large herbivores and their geographical ranges, (2) linkages between these spores and their biological origin, and (3) the most appropriate quantitative method to express their abundance for comparisons through time and across sites.
Article
A reference collection of microscope slides of modern pollen grains was established at the University of Minnesota in 1958 and has grown to nearly 10 thousand accessions prepared in our laboratories. The pollen grains are mounted in silicone oil, and the slides have been sealed with a variety of compounds: nail polishes, adhesives, paints, and paraffins. Each has deleterious effects on the contained pollen; these effects increase with time and thus limit the usable lifetimes of the slides. One effect, pollen pox, slowly destroys the shape and structure of the pollen wall until the grain becomes a featureless sphere; it characterizes nail polish and some adhesives. Other sealants, notably paraffin, result in the growth of crystals in the silicone oil that obscure the pollen grains. Of 20 compounds tested, fewer than half made satisfactory seals, and an estimated half-life of slides sealed with most of those is 10 to 20years. Latex paint has the best performance thus far: fewer than 5% of slides made over the past 20years have become unusable. Although a bad slide can often be replaced by a new one made from the stored preparation, the restricted longevity of slides requires continued monitoring and imposes a steady drain on the value of a large reference collection.
Article
A pile-dwelling settlement, dated to the final Bronze–early Iron Age (XII–XI century BC), was excavated at Stagno, near Leghorn (Tuscany, Italy). The site presented a well-preserved portion of the wooden foundation structure buried by sediments rich in plant remains: both wood and plant remains were subjected to archaeobotanical investigation. The ultimate goal was to improve our knowledge on agricultural economy and wood usage in Tuscany during the prehistoric ages. The results pointed to a farming system based on Triticum spp. (wheat), Hordeum spp. (barley) and Leguminosae cultivation in addition to the gathering of wild fruits, such as Corylus avellana, Cornus mas, Prunus spp., Vitis spp. Many of these plant remains are associated to a wetland context. Mesohygrophilous trees, such as deciduous Quercus, Ulmus minor, Fraxinus cf. excelsior, and Sorbus were used for the construction of the pile-dwelling structures; the choice of these plants indicates a good knowledge of the technological characteristics of timber.
Article
Lake Nussbaumersee, a medium-sized lake SW of Lake Constance (Switzerland) and well known for its Neolithic and Bronze Age pile-dwelling settlements, provides invaluable insights into the possible interpretation of Diporotheca rhizophila ascospores (Diporothecaceae, Ascomycota) in palaeoecological studies. Calcareous gyttja sediments from a 7500 yrs old stratigraphy were analysed palynologically, resulting in statistical correlations of Diporotheca spores with pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs (NPPs). Positive correlation existed with arboreal taxa such as Corylus avellana and Acer, herb taxa such as Allium, and aquatic taxa such as Anabaena (Cyanobacteria) and Filinia eggs (Rotifera). Negative statistical correlation was shown between Diporotheca and the arboreal taxa Quercus and Betula, Poaceae and Cyperaceae, and the fern Pteridium aquilinum. These results suggest that ecological indicator values for the root parasite D. rhizophila may not only be closely related to the autecology of its common host Solanum, but that D. rhizophila may generally be an indicator of major soil disturbance and extensive soil erosion due to the impact of agricultural activities by prehistorical people, as well as due to livestock trampling of wetlands and lake shore ecosystems.
Article
Relatively seldom is the same parameter reconstructed from the same site using different proxies, resulting in a persistent problem for palaeoecological studies whereby a reconstruction based on a single-proxy may provide an unequivocal view of the changes in past conditions. Plant macrofossils and testate amoebae are commonly used proxies to reconstruct past changes in peatland surface moisture conditions, but there are no comparisons between quantitative reconstructions based on both techniques. This paper compares two high-resolution late-Holocene quantitative water table (WT) reconstructions based on transfer functions for plant macrofossils and testate amoebae from two boreal peatland sites in Finland and Estonia. The reconstructed WT variation patterns during the last ca. 5000 years are almost identical in directions for both proxies. However, both bog records contain one inconsistent episode when the two proxies indicate different hydrological conditions. In both cases, the testate amoebae reconstruction shows wetter than the average conditions, whereas the plant-based reconstruction indicates drier than the average conditions. Several, possibly simultaneously affecting, reasons can be suggested for mismatches between proxies: 1) the proxies have different response times and sensitivities to hydrological changes, 2) the species-ecology is inadequately known, 3) the modern analogues are poor, 4) the microhabitat dynamics are unpredictable, and 5) the modern data set is too small. Divergences between the proxy records emphasize the fact that single-proxy reconstructions are subject to larger uncertainties than those based on two or more methods.
Article
A pilot study on the chemical analysis of earthen house floors, using both modern and archaeological localities, was undertaken to determine the degree to which activities leave detectable chemical residues, and whether these residues are preserved in archaeological contexts. The goals were to develop techniques for the identification and interpretation of activity areas in archaeological structures and to determine which elements serve to distinguish activities. One modern structure from Oaxaca, Mexico and two archaeological house floors (from British Columbia, Canada and Oaxaca, Mexico) were studied. Soil samples were collected from floors at all three sites and analysed by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP/AES) for Al, Ba, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, Sr, Ti, and Zn. Preliminary results show that activity areas in the modern house compound can readily be distinguished on the basis of chemical residues in soils, that archaeological features are chemically distinct from natural soils, and that features such as floors, and hearths can be distinguished from each other and from the natural prehistoric ground surface. Multi-element characterization by ICP/AES offers an advantage over traditional, single element analysis by yielding more useful data for less effort, expense, and time.
Article
The total number of taxa present in a sample is a robust and useful measure of palynological richness if, and only if, all the pollen counts are standardized to a fixed number of grains. Rarefaction analysis implements such a standardization and provides minimum variance unbiased estimates of the expected number of taxa (t) in a random sample of n individuals taken from a larger collection of N individuals containing T taxa. The underlying mathematical theory of rarefaction analysis and its important biological and palaeoecological assumptions are discussed. Use of rarefaction analyis is illustrated with three data-sets: Crose Mere, C England (0-c12 500 BP); Abernethy Forest, E Scotland (5500-12 100 BP); and three sites (Lochs Ashik, Cleat, Meodal) on the Isle of Skye, W Scotland, all covering the last 10 500 yr. Palynological richness, as estimated by rarefaction analysis, is high in the protocratic phase (c9500-12 500 BP), low in the mesocratic phase (c5500-9500 BP), low in the oligocratic phase (0-c5500 BP), and high in the Homo sapiens phase (0-c5000 BP) of the Holocene. Although factors such as local site characteristics and pollen production, dispersal, and input may influence temporal changes in richness, changes in palynological richness are interpreted as reflecting predominantly the changing floristic richness of the vegetation types in the pollen-source area of a lake and the changing mosaic structure of the landscape through time. Intermediate levels of disturbance, either natural in the protocratic phase or anthropogenic, appear to be important in maximizing richness at the landscape scale by preventing the dominance of any single component but insufficient to cause extinction of components at the landscape scale. -from Authors