The Bearing of Phyto-Archaeological Evidence on Discussions of Climatic Change over Recent Millennia
Phyto-archaeological data based on macro-remains studies, especially prehistoric charcoal, provide evidence concerning the changes in western Mediterranean vegetation during the last millennia. Comparisons are based on present vegetation levels as defined by Ozenda. From the last glacial period to the present time, differences between warm and cool vegetation were of about 8 degrees C in the south of France but less extreme in more southern regions. The late Pleistocene and early Holocene (Late Palaeolithic and part of Mesolithic) were a period of transition with pines and junipers. Then, the late Mesolithic and the early Neolithic are typically periods of good forestation. During the Neolithic period deciduous and holm oaks had a role of varying importance in all the present Mediterranean levels (thermomeso- and supramediterranean). Man's influence on the vegetation became significant in the middle Neolithic (south of France) or earlier (south of Spain) and may be characterized by plants such as Buxus sempervirens, Quercus ilex, Pinus halepensis and heaths. The Chalcolithic, the Roman period and the Middle Ages are also periods during which Man's influence was important.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A
- Pub Date:
- April 1990