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Rapid climate change in the Upper Palaeolithic: the record of charcoal conifer rings from the Gravettian site of Dolní V?stonice, Czech Republic

Rapid climate change in the Upper Palaeolithic: the record of charcoal conifer rings from the Gravettian site of Dolní V?stonice, Czech Republic
Rapid climate change in the Upper Palaeolithic: the record of charcoal conifer rings from the Gravettian site of Dolní V?stonice, Czech Republic
Precisely how Upper Palaeolithic human ecology was shaped by changing climate during the Pleniglacial remains a matter of debate, for while this generally cold period is now understood to include complex and often rapid flux in climate, there are still considerable difficulties in resolving climatic variations at particular times and places — derived from various lines of proxy evidence — with the high-resolution proxy record of temperature changes from oxygen isotope analysis of the Greenland ice-cores.

In this paper we apply the methodology of large-scale flotation to newly excavated contexts from the Upper Palaeolithic (Gravettian) site of Dolní V?stonice II, Czech Republic, to explore the potential of charcoal — as a natural archive of environmental information — to offer information on environmental change towards the end of the middle pleniglacial during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3, between c. 32,500 and 31,200 Cal yr BP. The results of an analysis of ring widths and other anatomical features — interpreted alongside micromorphological data — indicate that this charcoal may capture a higher-resolution record of the changing climatic conditions during which humans were first expanding into these hitherto marginal ecologies and, consequently, shed new light upon the complexity of the lifeways that enabled them to do so.
upper-palaeolithic, gravettian, charcoal, tree rings, climate change, micromorphology, archaeobotany
0277-3791
1948-1964
Beresford-Jones, D
fc1de3e1-be24-4da3-8e5e-ffb5f783db9e
Taylor, S
b4c80437-df15-44fe-beea-ec5de9f558f1
Paine, C
89625e7e-c852-4f49-9ac6-db16ce8bc276
Pryor, AJE
89319cf1-8e96-4cfe-80a4-daf21713a7f5
Svoboda, J
392cb80c-b896-4330-8ab3-5424cdabfeeb
Jones, M
7ffd3f08-1eaa-4386-b4fa-445a22c085b7
Beresford-Jones, D
fc1de3e1-be24-4da3-8e5e-ffb5f783db9e
Taylor, S
b4c80437-df15-44fe-beea-ec5de9f558f1
Paine, C
89625e7e-c852-4f49-9ac6-db16ce8bc276
Pryor, AJE
89319cf1-8e96-4cfe-80a4-daf21713a7f5
Svoboda, J
392cb80c-b896-4330-8ab3-5424cdabfeeb
Jones, M
7ffd3f08-1eaa-4386-b4fa-445a22c085b7

Beresford-Jones, D, Taylor, S, Paine, C, Pryor, AJE, Svoboda, J and Jones, M (2011) Rapid climate change in the Upper Palaeolithic: the record of charcoal conifer rings from the Gravettian site of Dolní V?stonice, Czech Republic. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30 (15-16), 1948-1964. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.04.021).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Precisely how Upper Palaeolithic human ecology was shaped by changing climate during the Pleniglacial remains a matter of debate, for while this generally cold period is now understood to include complex and often rapid flux in climate, there are still considerable difficulties in resolving climatic variations at particular times and places — derived from various lines of proxy evidence — with the high-resolution proxy record of temperature changes from oxygen isotope analysis of the Greenland ice-cores.

In this paper we apply the methodology of large-scale flotation to newly excavated contexts from the Upper Palaeolithic (Gravettian) site of Dolní V?stonice II, Czech Republic, to explore the potential of charcoal — as a natural archive of environmental information — to offer information on environmental change towards the end of the middle pleniglacial during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3, between c. 32,500 and 31,200 Cal yr BP. The results of an analysis of ring widths and other anatomical features — interpreted alongside micromorphological data — indicate that this charcoal may capture a higher-resolution record of the changing climatic conditions during which humans were first expanding into these hitherto marginal ecologies and, consequently, shed new light upon the complexity of the lifeways that enabled them to do so.

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Accepted/In Press date: 28 April 2011
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 May 2011
Published date: July 2011
Keywords: upper-palaeolithic, gravettian, charcoal, tree rings, climate change, micromorphology, archaeobotany
Organisations: Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 385702
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/385702
ISSN: 0277-3791
PURE UUID: 3837d12d-b161-4726-aeee-882d05ad52e2

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Date deposited: 21 Jan 2016 11:43
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 19:55

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Contributors

Author: D Beresford-Jones
Author: S Taylor
Author: C Paine
Author: AJE Pryor
Author: J Svoboda
Author: M Jones

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