Mid-holocene palaeoenvironment, plant resources and human interaction in northeast Iberia: An archaeobotanical approach

Raquel Piqué*, Marta Alcolea, Ferran Antolín, Marian Berihuete-Azorín, Anna Berrocal, David Rodríguez-Antón, Maria Herrero-Otal, Oriol López-Bultó, Laura Obea, Jordi Revelles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The role of the adoption of farming economies in the transformation of mid-Holocene landscapes in Northeast Iberia is under discussion given that the Neolithization coincides with the cold climatic phase dated ca. 7500–7000 cal BP. The main aim of this paper is to assess whether human activities or climate were the main driver of vegetation changes during the Middle Holocene through the study of the archaeobotanical data from three case studies: Cova del Sardo, La Draga, and Coves del Fem. The application of diverse archaeobotanical techniques to the different plant remains provides a complete picture of the vegetation composition and plant uses. During the early Neolithic, settlement surroundings were intensively exploited for firewood, wood raw material, timber, and plant fibers. The resources were obtained mainly from deciduous and pine forests, de-pending on the site localization, but also from riparian zones. The diversity of plants exploited was high, not only trees but shrubs and herbs. Evidence of deforestation has been identified in the settlement surroundings in La Draga and Cova del Sardo. The combination of plant exploitation with other agropastoral activities favored the expansion of colonizing species and enhanced biodiversity at a local scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5056
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Archaeobotany
  • Iberia
  • Mid-Holocene
  • Neolithic
  • Palaeoenvironment
  • Plant resources

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