A late antique vegetation history of the Western Mediterranean in context

Abstract : Fossil pollen records from 70 sites with reliable chronologies and high-resolution data in the western Mediterranean, were synthesised to document Late Holocene vegetation and climate change. The key elements of vegetation dynamics and landscape construction during Late Antiquity are clear in the light of the fossil pollen records. These are: fire events (natural or anthropogenically induced); grazing activities in high-mountain areas; agriculture; arboriculture; and human settlement in the lowlands. In terms of anthropogenic pressure, the differences recorded between highlands and lowlands suggest an imbalance in land use. Such practices were related to three main types of activities: wood exploitation and management, cultivation, and pastoralism. In lowland areas there seems to be some synchronism in vegetation dynamics during the late antique period, since most of the territories of the western Mediterranean had been deforested by the Early Roman period. However, in mountainous regions, pollen records document a clear asynchrony.
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José-Antonio Lopez-Saez, Sebastián Pérez Díaz, Didier Galop, Francisca Alba-Sanchez, Daniel Abel-Schaad. A late antique vegetation history of the Western Mediterranean in context. Late Antique Archaeology, 2018, Environment and society in the long late Antiquity, pp.93-114. ⟨hal-01869981⟩

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