Human-environment interaction during the Mesolithic- Neolithic transition in the NE Iberian Peninsula. Vegetation history, climate change and human impact during the Early-Middle Holocene in the Eastern Pre-Pyrenees

J. Revelles, F. Burjachs, A. Palomo, R. Piqué, E. Iriarte, R. Pérez-Obiol, X. Terradas

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Abstract

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd The synthetic analysis of several pollen records from sub-Mediterranean lowland Pre-Pyrenean regions evidences expansion of forests during the Early Holocene in Northeastern Iberia and the establishment of dense deciduous broadleaf forests during the Holocene Climate Optimum. Pollen records show the broadleaf deciduous forests resilience against cooling phases during the Mid-Holocene period, with slight regressions of oak woodlands and expansion of conifers or xerophytic taxa contemporary to some cooling episodes (i.e. 8.2 and 7.2 kyr cal. BP). Major vegetation changes influenced by climate change occurred in the transition to the Late Holocene, in terms of the start of a succession from broadleaf deciduous forests to evergreen sclerophyllous woodlands. The lack of evidence of previous occupation seems to support the Neolithisation of the NE Iberian Peninsula as a result of a process of migration of farming populations to uninhabited or sparsely inhabited territories. In that context, remarkable changes in vegetation were recorded from 7.3 kyr cal. BP onwards in the Lake Banyoles area, where the establishment of permanent farming settlements caused the deforestation of oak woodlands. In La Garrotxa region, short deforestation episodes affecting broadleaf deciduous forests, together with expansion of grasslands and presence of Cerealia-t were documented in the period 7.4–6.0 kyr cal. BP. Finally, in the coastal area, where less evidence of Early Neolithic occupations is recorded, evidence of Neolithic impact is reflected in the presence of Cerealia-t in 6.5–6.2 kyr cal. BP, but no strong human transformation of landscape was carried out until more recent chronologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-200
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume184
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Anthracology
  • Early Neolithic
  • Holocene
  • NE Iberia
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Pollen analysis
  • Vegetation dynamics
  • Western Europe

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