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Mid-late Holocene vegetation history of the Argive Plain (Peloponnese, Greece) as inferred from a pollen record from ancient Lake Lerna
Palaeo-Science and History (PS&H) Independent Research Group, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany and Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7609-0220
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden and Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7433-268X
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2022 (English)In: PLOS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 17, no 7, article id e0271548Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study provides a high-resolution reconstruction of the vegetation of the Argive Plain (Peloponnese, Greece) covering 5000 years from the Early Bronze Age onwards. The well dated pollen record from ancient Lake Lerna has been interpreted in the light of archaeological and historical sources, climatic data from the same core and other regional proxies. Our results demonstrate a significant degree of human impact on the environments of the Argive Plain throughout the study period. During the Early Bronze Age evidence of a thermophilous vegetation is seen in the pollen record, representing the mixed deciduous oak woodland of the Peloponnesian uplands. The plain was mainly used for the cultivation of cereals, whereas local fen conditions prevailed at the coring site. Towards the end of this period an increasing water table is recorded and the fen turns into a lake, despite more arid conditions. In the Late Bronze Age, the presence of important palatial centres modified the landscape resulting in decrease of mixed deciduous oak woodland and increase in open land, partly used for grazing. Possibly, the human management produced a permanent hydrological change at Lake Lerna. From the Archaic period onwards the increasing human pressure in association with local drier conditions caused landscape instability, as attested by a dramatic alluvial event recorded in the Pinus curve at the end of the Hellenistic Age. Wet conditions coincided with Roman times and favoured a forest regeneration pattern in the area, at the same time as we see the most intensive olive cultivation in the pollen record. The establishment of an economic landscape primarily based on pastures is recorded in the Byzantine period and continues until modern times. Overgrazing and fires in combination with arid conditions likely caused degradation of the vegetation into garrigue, as seen in the area of the Argive Plain today.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science , 2022. Vol. 17, no 7, article id e0271548
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology; environmental archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-198212DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271548ISI: 000944166200029Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85134358971OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-198212DiVA, id: diva2:1684050
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 621-2012-4344Swedish Research Council, 421-2014-1181Swedish Research Council, 2019-02868Available from: 2022-07-20 Created: 2022-07-20 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Katrantsiotis, Christos

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Vignola, CristianoFinné, MartinIzdebski, AdamKatrantsiotis, ChristosKouli, KaterinaPapadaki, MariaWeiberg, ErikaMasi, Alessia
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