Sedimentary deposits provide insights into past Earth surface dynamics via the size distribution of mineral grains documenting the erosion, transport and deposition history. This study introduces structured procedures to decipher the distinct grain-size distributions of sediment samples that were mixed during/after deposition, using the free statistical tool EMMAgeo. Compared with other algorithms, EMMAgeo is unique as it provides uncertainty estimates and allows expert knowledge to be included.
By using geochemical and pollen data, this study wanted to close knowledge gaps on the interconnection of climate, environment and human impact in the Kleinwalser Valley (Kleinwalsertal, northern central Alps) over the past 6200 years. For a long time, the Walser people were believed to be the first settlers, who cultivated the valley. However, humans have recurrently used and modified the landscape for at least 5500 years by burning or cutting down forests and practicing pasture management.
Provided here are novel data concerning site formation processes and Middle Palaeolithic human presence at Cotencher cave (Switzerland). A local glaciation around 70 ka was followed by ice-free conditions, when artefacts and faunal remains were displaced by solifluction processes. Evidence of local glacier development around 36 ka is also presented. This interdisciplinary study contributes new elements for the understanding of climatic changes and human passage in the central Jura Mountains.
This paper deals with recent prospections in the Roman vicus Belginum. All finds were analysed in a QGIS and ArcGIS environment together with lidar scans and the 2013 geomagnetic data. The distribution of bricks is in particular connected to the individual plots, while the pottery is mainly concentrated in the backyards. Regarding surveys in other Roman vici, the brick distribution could be a helpful indicator to identify plots when no geophysical information is available.
This case study provides a reconstruction of settlement and land-use history since the 13th century CE in a small valley in the Ore Mountains (Saxony). Archaeological evidence shows settlement activities with a strong building and mining activities that also triggered local soil erosion. After the abandonment of the site in the middle of the 15th century CE and a reafforestation, later land use in the area occurred in the form of charcoal production.
Long-term environmental change in Co. Mayo, on the mid-Atlantic seaboard of Ireland, is discussed. Pollen diagrams and bog pine, dated by 14C and dendrochronology, provide evidence for woodlands, farming and climate change. Intensive farming is dated to the early Neolithic (3800–3400 BC) prior to wide-scale spread of blanket bog. Construction of the peat-covered, stone-wall field system at Céide Fields occurred at this time which is unexpectedly early. Bronze and Iron Age activity is detailed.
It was possible to define the turning point from extremely clayey and organic- rich sedimentation in the Early and Middle Holocene towards the deposition of coarser-grained and less organic overbank fines in the lower Pleiße valley near Leipzig, NW Saxony. This change occurred between 4000 and 3300 BCE more than 1000 years after the beginning of Early Neolithic settlement and was obviously linked with land clearance by the first farmers.
This study investigates Neolithic settlement dynamics by combining archaeological source criticism and archaeopedological data from colluvial deposits. It is shown that the distribution of Neolithic sites in the Baar region is distorted by superimposition due to erosion. Furthermore, the preservation conditions for pottery are limited by weathering effects. By complementing archaeological data with phases of colluviation we are able to point out settlement dynamics throughout the Neolithic.
Deposits related to the last advance of Reuss Glacier are dated using a luminescence methodology. An age of 25 ka for sediment directly overlying the lodgement till corresponds with existing age constraints for the last maximal position of glaciers. Luminescence dating further implies an earlier advance of Reuss Glacier into the lowlands during Marine Isotope Stage 4. The data are discussed regarding potential changes in the source of precipitation during the Late Pleistocene.
Soils are an important source of geoarchaeological information. The archaeological soil archive is extremely endangered by intensive agriculture. Different approaches for problem-solving strategies that derive from daily practice in cultural heritage management are described.
This study presents ESR, OSL and C-14 data from Upper and Middle Pleistocene fluvial terraces (Übergangsterrassen, Hochterrassen) and its loess cover in the Bavarian Alpine Foreland. It will be illustrated that the ESR dating of embedded land-snail shells offers a new dating approach with an upper dating limit most probably much older than the penultimate interglacial (MIS 7). Furthermore, it shows that in some areas Hochterrassen gravels are underlain by older interglacial gravel deposits.
Max Engel, Stefanie Rückmann, Philipp Drechsler, Dominik Brill, Stephan Opitz, Jörg W. Fassbinder, Anna Pint, Kim Peis, Dennis Wolf, Christoph Gerber, Kristina Pfeiffer, Ricardo Eichmann, and Helmut Brückner
This paper is about deglaciation history in two areas of southern Norway. By dating rock surfaces we can estimate a minimum ice sheet thickness of 1476 m a.s.l. and a timing of deglaciation around 13 000 years ago in the western study area. In the eastern study area the deglaciation history is complex as the bedrock age most likely has inheritance from earlier ice-free periods. Comparing both study areas demonstrates the complex dynamics of the deglaciation in different areas in southern Norway.
Geomorphological mapping and analysis conducted as an initial step towards a future sediment budget study of the middle Waimakariri River (Southern Alps, New Zealand) reveals that the traditional concept of the temporary palaeolake glacial Lake Speight is conflicting with our conclusions of realistic chronosequences and timescales of para- and postglacial landform development. Especially the temporal and causal relation to the last deglaciation needs to be questioned and will be discussed.
Late Pleistocene Yedoma deposits of Siberia and Alaska are prone to degradation with warming temperatures.
Multimodal grain-size distributions of >700 samples indicate varieties of sediment production, transport, and deposition.
These processes were disentangled using robust endmember modeling analysis.
Nine robust grain-size endmembers characterize these deposits.
The data set was finally classified using cluster analysis.
The polygenetic Yedoma origin is proved.
This study combines geomorphological–hydrological analyses with the distribution of archaeological sites and obsidian raw material outcrops within the catchment of the Bisare River, Mt Damota, and Mt Sodicho (southwestern Ethiopian Highlands). The current highly dynamic hydrological system, strong recent sediment erosion, and increased human impact lead to land degradation, resulting in exposure of lithic raw material outcrops and destruction of archaeological material.
The landscape on the Black Sea coast of Georgia has changed significantly during the last few millennia. By using granulometric and geochemical analyses, we reconstructed significant sea level, coastline and palaeoenvironmental changes that have taken place in the surroundings of the Supsa fan since at least 4000 BCE.
Chemotaxonomic identification of keystone plant species in the Bale Mountains are possible using lignin phenols. However, Erica could not be differentiated chemotaxonomically from all other investigated plants using n-alkanes. Unambiguous characteristic patterns of lignin phenols reflected in the plant samples were not sustained in the organic layers and mineral topsoils. This is due to degradation and organic matter inputs by roots. Therefore, the past extent of Erica is still speculative.
Christopher Lüthgens, Daniela Sauer, Michael Zech, Becky Briant, Eleanor Brown, Elisabeth Dietze, Markus Fuchs, Nicole Klasen, Sven Lukas, Jan-Hendrik May, Julia Meister, Tony Reimann, Gilles Rixhon, Zsófia Ruszkiczay-Rüdiger, Bernhard Salcher, Tobias Sprafke, Ingmar Unkel, Hans von Suchodoletz, and Christian Zeeden
The study evaluates the ability of stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) and sugar biomarkers to distinguish Erica from the dominant vegetation of the Bale Mountains in order to reconstruct the past extent of Erica on the Sanetti Plateau. No significant differences in stable isotopes are found between the dominant plant species. Although Erica is characterized by quite high (G+M)/(A+X) ratios, it cannot be unambiguously distinguished from other plants due to degradation and soil microbial effects.
The Black Forest was covered by a 1000 km2 large ice cap during the last glaciation. Glacial landforms in the area north-west of the highest summit of the Black Forest, the Feldberg (1493 m above sea level), were investigated to select suitable sampling sites for dating glacial landforms in future studies. Some of the terminal moraines described in this study are mapped for the first time. The application of dating methods will provide insights into the chronology of the last glaciation.
Dominik Faust, Sebastian Kreutzer, Yesmine Trigui, Maximilian Pachtmann, Georg Mettig, Moncef Bouaziz, Jose Manuel Recio Espejo, Fernando Diaz del Olmo, Christoph Schmidt, Tobias Lauer, Zeljko Rezek, Alexander Fülling, and Sascha Meszner
Christoph Mayr, Renate Matzke-Karasz, Philipp Stojakowits, Sally E. Lowick, Bernd Zolitschka, Tanja Heigl, Richard Mollath, Marian Theuerkauf, Marc-Oliver Weckend, Rupert Bäumler, and Hans-Joachim Gregor
Our new concept of the Weichselian ice dynamics in the south-western sector of the Baltic Sea depression is based on existing geochronological data from Germany, Denmark and southernmost Sweden, as well as new data from north-east Germany. Previous models are mainly based on the reconstruction of morphologically continuous ice-marginal positions, whereas our model shows a strong lobate and variable character of ice advances. We strongly suggest an age- and process-based approach in the future.