Anthropogenic Influences During the Pre-historic

  • Created by: nicola
  • Created on: 14-04-11 19:43

Pre-historic - refers to the time period before we have historical records, in Med:

  • Palaeolithic - old stone age (hunter gatherers) = >13,000 yrs ago
  • Mesolithic - middle stone age (hunter gatherers) = 13,000-7,500 yrs ago
  • Neolithic - new stone age (onset of agriculture) = 7,500-4,000 yrs ago
  • Bronze age = 4,000-2,400 yrs ago
  • Historical records become abundant in Greek and Roman times

Differences can be seen on East and West of Med - shows different times of colonisation

During hunter gatherer periods humans had little impact on ecosystems and geomorphic systems

Neolithic and Bronze age saw development of sedentary populations - development of agriculture = increased impacts on environment

At 7,500 yrs ago, this was a period of climate change - Holocene reached its climatic optimum = the hottest and wettest time (8-5 ka)

  • Caused a spread of agricultural practices - linked to increased aridity of climate in the Near East
  • People fled to more favourable areas

The timing of human impact varies across the region - onset of agriculture occured earlier in east than the west

As humans began to alter the landscape, it also underwent climatic changes 

Climate Change in the Holocene

Over the last 10,000 yrs Med landscape has become more arid, although was relatively most until 5,000 yrs BP

  • Can tell this through lake levels and pollen records - high lake levels due to increased precip in glacial times with pollen records showing a dominance of arid species 
  • Noticeable decline in high lake levels in the Med from 6-5 ka - shows that high lake levels do not always mean wetter climates
    • Could reflect drier/ more seasonal climates with increased run off
    • Wetter periods, supported by pollen records 
    • Reduction in tree pollen over time shows climatic impact - e.g. evergreen reduction due to increased aridity (Yll et al, 1997)

In many areas over the Med, onset of agriculture is coincident with major climatic deterioration - hard to distinguish whether impacts are human based or due to aridification of the environment 

Human Impact on Med Vegetation

Can impact in four ways:

  • Clearing of vegetation for agriculture - relates to increased populations
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