Enter Zoom Meeting

GM12.1

EDI
Towards the Anthropocene: human-landscape interaction and geoarchaeological challenges

Documenting the diversity of human responses and adaptations to climate, landscapes, ecosystems, natural disasters and the changing natural resources availability in different regions of our planet, cross-disciplinary studies in Geoarchaeology provide valuable opportunities to learn from the past. Furthermore, human activity became a major player of global climatic and environmental change in the course of the late Quaternary, during the Anthropocene. Consequently, we must better understand the archaeological records and landscapes in context of human culture and the hydroclimate-environment nexus at different spatial and temporal scales. This session seeks related interdisciplinary papers and specific geoarchaeological case-studies that deploy various approaches and tools to address the reconstruction of former human-environmental interactions from the Palaeolithic period through the modern. Topics related to records of the Anthropocene from Earth and archaeological science perspectives are welcome. Furthermore, contributions may include (but are not limited to) insights about how people have coped with environmental disasters or abrupt changes in the past; defining sustainability thresholds for farming or resource exploitation; distinguishing the baseline natural and human contributions to environmental changes. Ultimately, we would like to understand how strategies of human resilience and innovation can inform our modern strategies for addressing the challenges of the emerging Anthropocene, a time frame dominated by human modulation of surface geomorphological processes and hydroclimate.

Co-organized by SSS3
Convener: Guido Stefano MarianiECSECS | Co-conveners: Julia MeisterECSECS, André KirchnerECSECS, Hans von Suchodoletz, Kathleen Nicoll
Presentations
| Fri, 27 May, 15:10–16:40 (CEST)
 
Room -2.31

Fri, 27 May, 15:10–16:40

Chairpersons: Guido Stefano Mariani, Julia Meister, André Kirchner

15:10–15:15
Introduction

15:15–15:25
|
EGU22-8900
|
solicited
|
Highlight
|
Virtual presentation
The ancient ports of Rome revisited: a multiple proxy of environmental changes in relation to human occupation
(withdrawn)
Laura Sadori et al.
15:25–15:30
|
EGU22-580
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Aayush Srivastava et al.

Agricultural terraces, which demonstrate an ingenious and sustainable way of transforming hilly slopes into arable land, are widespread in Mediterranean landscapes, stretching from southern Portugal to the Judean Highlands. Despite their ecological and heritage values, there remain significant temporal and spatial gaps in understanding their histories, how they were constructed and what their socio-economic implications were for early populations. This lack of knowledge further restricts understanding the effects of terracing on landscape in terms of mitigating the impacts of past climate change and informing sustainable strategies for the future of land-management. 

To this end, we employed a multidisciplinary approach to a case study in Naxos, Greece. A GIS-based technique which uses a range of cartographic remote sensing data was employed to identify over 20 terrace sites, and trenches were hand-dug and placed in a relative chronological sequence using a portable optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating reader and gamma spectrometer. Samples were then collected for absolute OSL dating, micromorphology and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses. Trench profiles were documented using high-resolution image-based modelling for accurate sample location and volumetric reconstruction of soil layers, and historic and modern aerial spaceborne data were used together with sample results to create models of terrace systems for spatiotemporal analyses. 

The results of this multidisciplinary approach adopted here have produced evidence of large-scale land-use in periods for which no other evidence indicative of landscape exploitation survives. A chronological framework based on over 25 OSL ages suggests terrace construction in Naxos between ~400 BC and the 16th century AD with intensification during the Medieval Greek period. Applications of soil micromorphology and XRF analyses identify key evidence of natural soil development and past land use including irrigation, soil mixing, crop residues and anthropogenic fertilisers. Modelling of terrace system development indicate their value as long-term resilient, adaptable agricultural and environmental features: where terrace systems have been maintained, reused, or abandoned under vegetation landscapes appear to maintain greater stability, retaining valuable soils and habitats compared to areas where terrace systems have been affected by overgrazing or consolidated by mechanical means. We conclude that our multidisciplinary approach has concomitant implications for the future sustainability and biodiversity of Mediterranean landscapes and beyond. 

How to cite: Srivastava, A., Kinnaird, T., Turner, S., Sevara, C., Holcomb, J., Lekakis, S., and Shillito, L.-M.: Agricultural terraces in the Mediterranean: a multidisciplinary approach to understanding human-landscape interactions , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-580, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-580, 2022.

15:30–15:35
|
EGU22-3091
|
On-site presentation
Hanoch Lavee

Stone mounds and water conduits dating from the Nabatean, Roman and Byzantine periods (4th century B.C. to 7th century A.D.) can be found on hillslopes over large areas in the Negev Desert, as well as in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

Based on results from field and laboratory experiments it is suggested that the ancient farmers were very efficient in harvesting water; they took into consideration the size and position of the stones when clearing the hillslope surface in order to increase the overland flow yield.

A comparison of the volume of stones in the mounds to the volume of surface stones from the surrounding areas indicates that the ancient farmers removed only stones that had been rested on top of the soil surface and left the embedded stones untouched. According to the results of simulated rainfall experiments, this selective removal of stones increased the volume of overland flow generation by almost 250%, for small rainfall events, compared to natural untreated soil surfaces. In addition, they realized that installing closely spaced conduits running in parallel along the hillslope would increase the trapping efficiency of overland flow on its way downslope.

This means that the ancient farmers have been well aware of the mechanisms of overland flow generation on stony soils and of overland flow dis-continuity on arid hillslopes.

How to cite: Lavee, H.: Water harvesting by ancient farmers in the Negev desert, Israel: Overland flow generation and continuity considerations, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3091, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-3091, 2022.

15:35–15:40
|
EGU22-4794
Andrea Zerboni et al.

Since the Pleistocene, the Mediterranean is a hot spot for climate change and human migrations, thus offering the opportunity to investigate how human populations have responded to environmental changes and sea level variations. This is the main topic of the SPHeritage Project (MUR grant: FIRS2019_00040, P.I.: M. Pappalardo) that proposes an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the human-environment interaction (in particular sea level variations) over the last 400,000 years using a combination of micro-invasive methods. The Project is re-investigating the well-known archaeological area of ​​the Balzi Rossi (Ventimiglia, at the border between Italy and France), which represents a unique assemblage of archaeological sites dating to the Palaeolithic, distributed in a geomorphological setting rich of markers of past sea level changes. As most of the local archaeological sequences have been extensively investigated at the beginning of the last century and large part of the deposits removed, we will combine the analyses of materials preserved in museums (including strips of sediments) and the remnants still preserved inside many rockshelters and caves of the archaeological complex. Moreover, our geomorphological survey identified new sedimentary sequences preserving information on relative sea level changes. This approach will permit to obtain innovative data submitting small samples to state-of-the-art methods for dating and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, thus offering the opportunity to better constrain the time and steps of climate change, sea level oscillations, and human settlements. Moreover, data will converge into geoheritage analyses aimed at finding the best practices for promoting and protecting the site. Here, we present an overview of the project and preliminary results from some of the major archaeological sites.

How to cite: Zerboni, A., Bollati, I. M., Forti, L., Gazzo, S., Moussous, A., Muttoni, G., Negrino, F., Notter, O., Pelfini, M., Perego, A., Perini, S., Ragaini, L., Regattieri, E., Rossoni-Notter, E., Rovere, A., Ryan, D., Serradimigni, M., Starnini, E., Vacchi, M., and Pappalardo, M.: Upper Pleistocene sea level changes and human peopling at the northern margin of the Mediterranean Sea: the S-P-Heritage Project, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4794, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-4794, 2022.

15:40–15:45
|
EGU22-4961
|
ECS
|
|
On-site presentation
Julia Pagels et al.

The intra-mountain Medjerda Valley is located in North Tunisia and is characterized by its namesake the Oued Medjerda. The Valley has been settled since at least the latest Paleolithic period. Archaeologists from the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) have been studying the region since 1965, concentrating on Roman settlements. Since January 2021 the joint research project “Conquest, Ecology and Economy in Islamic North Africa: The Example of the Central Medjerda Valley” focuses on the subsequent Islamic settlement of the middle Medjerda Valley between Late Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period. The overall project aims to understand the economic and social transformations of the region triggered by the Muslim conquests and subsequent regime changes.

As part of this project, we want to focus on sediment archives in the immediate hinterland of the archaeological sites Chimtou and Bulla Regia, which are located in the central Medjerda Valley. We want to increase our knowledge on local changes in environmental conditions to establish a knowledge base on how economic and social change of the region affects the landscape balance and sediment fluxes.

In this presentation we will present a morphometric analysis of the study area: a GIS-based classification of landforms by applying the algorithm Geomorphons and results from a soil erosion model (USPED). Our results show that combing both methods allows us to derive information on landscape sensitivity, increases our process understanding and supports identify areas of erosion and deposition. Although we currently do not have the opportunity to go into the field, we here introduce a methodological framework, which allows a first geomorphological characterization of a study area – nevertheless, ground checking will be a task for future field work.

How to cite: Pagels, J., Bebermeier, W., and von Rummel, P.: Geomorphometric analysis for the hinterland of the roman sites Chimtou and Bulla Regia (Central Medjerda Valley), North Tunisia, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4961, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-4961, 2022.

15:45–15:50
|
EGU22-13327
|
On-site presentation
Henk Cornelissen et al.

The analysis of steroids (stanols and stanols compounds) preserved within Holocene sediment records represents a novel approach to establish past periods of human and herbivore occupation in the Atlas mountains of Morocco. These organic compounds are faecally produced by omnivorous and ruminant mammals; the concentrations and ratios of the compounds are used in this study as proxies for past dynamics of human presence. In this study, stanol analysis is employed in tandem with multiproxy sedimentological, palaeoecological and geochronological data of a lake-margin sediment core to evaluate Holocene human presence around the high-elevation wetland system of the Yagour Plateau, in the High Atlas mountains (31.31°N, 7.60°W, 2460 m.a.s.l.). The site is a vital resource for modern pastoral communities, providing fodder for livestock during seasonal dry periods. Cultural institutions known as Agdals regulate access to this wetland and have been established since early-historic times at least. The Yagour Plateau is well-known for its remarkable abundance of undated petroglyphs, which may relate to the territorial delineation of these Agdals. However, direct dating of archaeological remains is rare and the timing of human presence on the High Atlas rangelands is not well known. Information gained on the dynamics of human presence of remote, high-elevation sites in the High Atlas may be helpful in improving the understanding of the relationships between Holocene climatic, anthropogenic and ecological signals. Here, we present new data from 25 stanol samples spanning the last 13 kyr, complemented by two multiproxy records that include pollen, charcoal and non-pollen palynomorphs. The temporal context of these proxy records is underpinned by high-resolution age-depth radiocarbon chronology. We observe elevated stanol ratios from 6.2 cal ka BP to modern times, likely indicating intermittent human presence on the plateau since the Mid-Holocene. High coprostanol concentrations between 4.9 to 4.0 cal ka BP are similar to modern levels and indicate peak human presence. Faecal biomarkers match well with pollen-based anthropogenic indicators, particularly Plantago pollen abundance. This study supports a significant human presence on the Yagour Plateau from the Mid-Holocene onwards, contributing to the study of long-term human presence and climate dynamics in a sensitive mountain region at the boundary of the Atlantic and Saharan climate systems.

How to cite: Cornelissen, H., Lupien, R., Fletcher, W., Hughes, P., Bell, B., Rhoujjati, A., Ewague, A., and Fink, D.: Ancient steroids: Human faecal signals and environmental data from a Holocene sediment record of the Yagour Plateau, High Atlas, Morocco, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13327, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-13327, 2022.

15:50–15:55
|
EGU22-1436
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Julia Meister et al.

The temple areas in ancient Egypt were most sacred and characterized by a multitude of elements that emphasized their importance and enabled daily cultic activities. Very specific and important features of such temples were sacred water canals or lakes, the so-called Isheru, which provided water for all kinds of purification rites and activities. In addition to textual records, preliminary sedimentological analyses of core drillings and geophysical surveys provided geoarchaeological evidence of a sacred water body at the Temple of Bastet in the ancient city of Bubastis. To further explore the location, shape, or course of the already detected canal and to find evidence on the existence of a second waterway described by Herodotus in the 5th century BCE, 34 drillings and five 2D geoelectrical measurements were carried. Drilling and sediment analyses revealed loamy to clayey deposits with a thickness of up to five meters near the northern and southern enclosures of the Temple of Bastet. 2D electrical surveying confirmed the drilling results, indicating trench-formed layers of low resistivity values. The recovered deposits were interpreted as fluvial sediments, most likely deposited in a very low energy system, e.g. a canal or lake. Evidence of these fluvial sediments in numerous boreholes allows the reconstruction of two separate sacred canals both north and south of the Temple of Bastet. In addition to the course, the width of the canals of about 30 m can also be confirmed according to Herodotus' writings. The presence of numerous artefacts in the fluvial deposits, such as ceramic and limestone fragments, proves the anthropogenic use of the ancient canals. Presumably, these waterways were connected to the Nile via a tributary or canal located west or northwest of Bubastis.

How to cite: Meister, J., Garbe, P., Trappe, J., Ullmann, T., Es-Senussi, A., Baumhauer, R., Lange-Athinodorou, E., and Abd El-Raouf, A.: The Sacred Waterscape of Ancient Egyptian Temples - The Example of the Temple of Bastet at Bubastis, Nile Delta (Egypt), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-1436, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-1436, 2022.

15:55–16:00
|
EGU22-9549
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Guido Stefano Mariani et al.

The geological substrate and its landforms, as main providers of natural resources, have a clear influence on landscape management practices The landscape evolution of the island of Sardinia (Italy) during the Holocene has strongly influenced the populations settled there, especially during the Bronze Age. We constructed a map of the land units in the southwestern corner of Sardinia and compared them with the distribution of known Bronze Age megalithic towers called nuraghes. Our aim is to understand which factors represent relevant criteria for settlement and try to infer possible causes.

The vast majority of nuraghes are located in proximity to river networks at low and mid elevations. Most densely settled areas also show the highest landscape diversity with a variety of land units much higher than the rest of the territory. Another potential factor affecting the location choice for nuraghes is the presence of elevated outcrops, which provide the advantage of a raised position and of stable foundations. The interaction of human dispersal patterns with landscape features can provide useful information on the sustenance strategies of past communities. It can therefore be interesting to consider the combined effect of geodiversity and landscape diversity in order to build more accurate dispersal models.

How to cite: Mariani, G. S., Brandolini, F., and Melis, R. T.: Insights into the role of geology in human occupation strategies in Bronze Age Sardinia (Italy), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9549, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-9549, 2022.

16:00–16:05
|
EGU22-3896
|
ECS
|
Virtual presentation
Annegret Larsen et al.

It is well-known that floodplain fine-grained alluvial sedimentation rates have been increasing due to human impact. In most catchments, the onset or acceleration of floodplain deposition is dated to medieval times, which has been attributed to increased hillslope soil erosion due to high population densities causing deforestation and slope instability. The also increasing river sediment load has then changed rivers into a single-thread, meandering channel pattern, which is now considered to be the ultima ratio in river restoration. In this presentation, we challenge this view and argue that current channel pattern and shape are related to historic channel engineering, and are hence not the product of fluvial processes associated with a meandering, or avulsing single-thread river system. Here, we present a study from a mountainous region in central Europe (Germany), in which we reconstruct the natural, pre-medieval channel pattern of two low order streams (3rd and 4th Strahler order), and their transition into the current, single-thread channel pattern which is characterised by meanders. This study is based upon a multi-proxy analysis of the chrono-stratigraphy, cross-valley ground penetrating radar, river surveying, analysis of historic maps, and hydrological data for channel pattern prediction. Finally, based on our analysis, we suggest that currently observed channel widening processes and island formation likely represent a tendency of the studied streams to re-create a braided channel pattern, which should be embraced by river management instead of forcing streams into a meandering pattern, as multi-thread, braiding channels are the most natural condition for these streams,  producing a sustainable and resilient river ecosystem.  

How to cite: Larsen, A., Engelmann, C., Fuelling, A., Candel, J., Bork, H.-R., and Larsen, J. R.: Historic river floodplain engineering causes channel pattern shift from multiple to single-thread rivers, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3896, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-3896, 2022.

16:05–16:10
|
EGU22-8894
|
Virtual presentation
Hans von Suchodoletz et al.

The role of climatic or human forcing for Holocene silt-clay overbank sedimentation in Central Europe has been debated for decades. To date, former studies were often limited by rather low chronological resolutions of the fluvial stratigraphies, and especially by records of human activity in the studied catchments with rather fragmentary spatial and chronological resolutions.

Within the frame of an interdisciplinary geoarchaeological project carried out in the Weiße Elster catchment in Central Germany, using drill cores, geophysical measurements, sedimentological and micromorphological analyses as well as numerical dating along three transects, we build up a highly resolved record of fine-grained fluvial sedimentation along the middle river reach. Complementarily, based on archaeological data stored in local area files of the State Offices of Archaeology as well as on historical and onomastic data, we build up a catchment-wide record of human activity from the Early Neolithic period until the High Middle Ages with a so far unprecedented high spatial and chronological resolution in Central Europe. Comparing these geomorphologic and archeological/historic datasets with highly resolved paleoclimatic records allows a large step forward in understanding the intricate interplay of the Holocene geomorphodynamics with climate changes and human activity with an exceptional spatial and chronological resolution. So far, first results demonstrate a significant impact of climatic events such as the Little Ice Age on river activity that were linked with fine-grained sedimentation also after the start of intensive human activity in the catchment since the Early Neolithic period ca. 7.5 ka.

How to cite: von Suchodoletz, H., Fütterer, P., Zielhofer, C., Veit, U., Ettel, P., Werther, L., Stäuble, H., Tinapp, C., Schneider, B., Sprafke, T., Werban, U., Ballasus, H., and Miera, J.: Holocene silt-clay overbank sedimentation between climate change and human activitiy within the fragile loess-covered Weiße Elster catchment in Central Germany, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8894, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-8894, 2022.

16:10–16:15
|
EGU22-9339
|
ECS
|
Virtual presentation
Marina A Morlock et al.

The introduction of vertical mobility for agro-pastoral activities marks an important change in prehistoric society, which has altered the socioeconomic structuring of Alpine areas. It has also had severe consequences for the high Alpine ecosystems, including the destabilisation of soils, sustained vegetation disturbance, and lake eutrophication. With climate change and increasing anthropogenic pressure to Alpine environments, it is critical to better characterise the interaction between natural and anthropogenic factors that have shaped Alpine environments during the last millennia.

We present a Holocene record of domestic and wild animal presence through sediment-DNA analysis from a lake sediment core from the Eastern Swiss Alps and study the effects on soil erosion and vegetation composition. We provide direct evidence for the onset of pastoralism around 5,000 years BP, after which the site became repeatedly abandoned and re-occupied. According to our sediment-DNA reconstructions, several domestic species are present during early occupational periods, while cattle herding has become dominant during the last millennium. The latter period also coincides with a severe change in vegetation composition. Pastoral activities have had marked effects on soil erosion, while catchment deforestation already occurred ~2,000 years prior to the first findings of DNA from domestic animals, suggesting that the onset of Alpine pastoralism did not cause severe vegetation changes in our catchment. Further, sediment-DNA findings indicate that wild animals avoided near-shore territories during periods of human occupation, but returned to the lake shore upon site abandonment.

Our study opens a new perspective on long-term human-environment interactions in Alpine environments by providing direct evidence for animal presence and diversity and linking this information to physical and ecological factors such as soil erosion and vegetation change.

How to cite: Morlock, M. A., Rodriguez-Martinez, S., Huang, D. Y.-T., Glaus, N., Anselmetti, F. S., Vogel, H., Rey, F., Heiri, O., Dwileski, A., and Klaminder, J.: Direct evidence for 5,000 years of Alpine pastoralism: how lake sediments inform about animal diversity, soil erosion and vegetation change, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9339, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-9339, 2022.

16:15–16:20
|
EGU22-83
|
ECS
|
Virtual presentation
Filippo Brandolini and Sam Turner

Developing more sustainable agricultural systems represents a challenge and urgent global venture. A sustained collaboration among researchers from diverse fields, policymakers, and the public at large is necessary to deal with this complex global emergency. Landscape archaeology can actively contribute to this movement by exploring the interactions of social and environmental systems over long periods of time and generating insights for potential future applications. Environmental sustainability and historic landscape conservation are typically treated as two separate fields. Still, this research proposes a new way to embrace cultural and natural values as components of the same landscape management plans.
Over the long term, rural activities have given rise to a wide variety of historic landscapes. Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) uses a qualitative but formalised method to map historic landscapes' chronological and spatial complexity. Each HLC study uses GIS to map 'historic landscape character types' (HLC types) based on distinctive characteristics which result from known historical processes. Meanwhile, in environmental studies, the diachronic land-use-land cover (LULC) analysis has helped illustrate how different anthropogenic activities have altered the soil erosion rate in specific areas. Modelling can provide a quantitative and consistent approach to estimating soil erosion under a wide range of conditions. GIS integration with the RUSLE (Revisited Universal Soil Loss Equation) model has been applied to estimate soil loss at a regional scale. It has resulted in implementing soil management and conservation practices to reduce soil erosion in fragile ecosystems. In previous HLC studies, LULC has been evaluated from the perspective of cultural heritage. In contrast, RUSLE modellers have used it as a proxy for the LULC of an area (i.e. absence or presence of tree canopy) and its effect on soil erosion. 
This study proposes an innovative methodology that combines both the historical/cultural and the environmental values of LULC to inform the development of a model to evaluate the increasing/decreasing soil erosion rate. From a cultural heritage point of view, the diachronic analysis of historical features (mapped as HLC types) informs understanding of the LULC, which characterised a landscape. At the same time, these features had an impact on local soil erosion rates. In this study, the HLC types have been employed to define the C and P factors, the two most challenging factors to be determined in the RUSLE equation. In literature, the C factor is usually derived from automatic satellite detection (e.g. CORINE), resulting in a low detailed characterisation of the LULC types, especially in the case of local agricultural activities. Conversely, the P factor is often taken equal to 1 because of the lack of geospatial data about the conservative practices adopted regionally (e.g. occurrence of terraced systems, hedgerows or contour ploughing). 
The methodology proposed has been tested in the Tuscan - Emilian Apennines historical landscape (Vetto - Italy) with the aims to assess: i) how the changes in the LULC in the past 70 years impacted the soil erosion rate, and ii) which HLC types perform better in term of soil erosion mitigation.

How to cite: Brandolini, F. and Turner, S.: A landscape archaeological approach to estimate the cover-management and conservation practice factors for RUSLE models., EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-83, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-83, 2022.

16:20–16:25
|
EGU22-7189
|
ECS
|
Virtual presentation
Emil Schou Nielsen et al.

Neanderthals are believed to have been adapted to cold climate conditions, nevertheless Neanderthal findings in the north and northeast European region are scares, non-existing or at least speculative. In between periods of arctic and subarctic conditions, warm periods like the Eemian interglacial would have offered mild living conditions in present-day southern Scandinavia and have evidently allowed migration of prey species to the region. We therefore suggest that the apparent absence of Neanderthals in the geological record here is partly steered by poor conditions of conservation, lack of in situ archives and lack of focused investigation, rather than a limit of the Neanderthal habitat per se. In this paper we seek to identify potential hotspots for Neanderthal activity in the geological record. We do this by mapping the paleolandscape from all available data sources and by 3D paleolandscape modelling, to identify potential Neanderthal living sites such as lake beaches, seashores and floodplains, where there would be easy access to water, prey and open habitat. Among the possible candidate sites, we will investigate by means of coring, whether the shores from Eemian lakes offer good conditions for preservation of potential find layers, as they might have a low degree of disturbance and in rare cases can offer in situ burial and conservation of interglacial fossils, archaeological material and sedimentary climate archives.

How to cite: Nielsen, E. S., Nielsen, T. K., and Kristiansen, S. M.: Human-environmental interaction possibilities at the Neanderthals’ northern edge: focus on last interglacial and early last glacial, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-7189, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-7189, 2022.

16:25–16:30
|
EGU22-7996
|
ECS
|
Highlight
Michael Storozum

China’s Yellow River, which gains its name from the extraordinary amount of yellow-brown silt it entrains, was not always so yellow. Current historical and geological evidence suggest that the Yellow River experienced several periods of human-induced transformation that have not only changed the color of the Yellow River’s water, but also fundamentally altered the river’s hydrological properties, specifically by increasing the Yellow River’s propensity for catastrophic floods. In this paper, I argue that the long history of soil erosion and Yellow River floods is a defining characteristic of China’s incipient Anthropocene period and can be understood through the application of geoarchaeological methods and frameworks. Specifically, I focus on how extreme Yellow River flood events at Kaifeng, a former capital of dynastic China, have shaped the city’s urban resilience in the wake of a flood that killed over 300,000 people in AD 1642. Recent geoarchaeological excavations have discovered evidence that reveals the AD 1642 Yellow River flood destroyed Kaifeng’s inner city, entombing the city and its inhabitants within meters of silt and clay. I argue that the geology of the Yellow River floods and the socio-political context of Kaifeng shaped the city’s resilience to extreme flood events. Through this example, the long-term consequences of China’s early Anthropocene are brought out in sharp relief. Flood events like at Kaifeng not only represent significant hydrological shifts in the Yellow River, but also had dramatic social consequences as numerous Yellow River floods have coincided with the collapse major Chinese dynasties. In conclusion, I suggest that a deeper understanding of the origins and long-term development of the Yellow River as a coupled human and natural system is fundamental to designing more sustainable solutions to managing the Yellow River and other large, muddy, rivers around the world.

How to cite: Storozum, M.: The Anthropocene Geoarchaeology of the Yellow River  , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-7996, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-7996, 2022.

16:30–16:35
|
EGU22-6021
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Mathias Bellat et al.

       The traditional view on Mesopotamian resources strategies is understood as “resource hunting” in which Mesopotamian empires would have spread to neighbouring regions (Zagros, Taurus, Levant…) to monopolize their resources. Indeed, Mesopotamia lacks some resources/raw materials such as copper, iron, wood, obsidian, and others. Our RessourceCultures approachdeveloped in SFB 1070, aims to define resources in a wider spectrum, to propose new interpretations on cultures development in this region. By investigating new patterns rules of resources appropriation and uses in peripheral areas, we hope to bring interesting new results. Our survey covered an area of 4.400 km2 from the western foothills of the Zagros mountains to the eastern riverbank of the Tigris. 

 

      To unravel the patterns that define a ResourceCulture we combine both archaeological and geoarchaeological data into a machine learning approach. Many features (topography, water, soil type, resources availability, climate…) influence the founding and location of settlements in different ways and degrees of importance. The trend of these influences can be analyzed through machine learning models in predictive archaeology. Letting the machine run predictive models and underline the relationship between each feature and settlement dynamic will potentially help us to better understand how resources were used in a cultural and economic context through time and space.     

 

           Our poster will present the first ideas derived from the machine learning approach: Is there any trends appearing and what can we say from them? Can we redefine the ResourceCulture in Northern Mesopotamia through these new interpretations? 

How to cite: Bellat, M., Glissmann, B., Rentschler, T., Schmidt, K., Sconzo, P., Pfälzner, P., and Scholten, T.: Unraveling archaeological settlement, landscape, and resource use patterns with machine learning in Kurdistan (Iraq), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-6021, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-6021, 2022.

16:35–16:40
|
EGU22-9325
|
Virtual presentation
Gabriella Boretto et al.

The Cerro Colorado Cultural and Natural Reserve is located on the north-eastern slope of the Sierras Pampeanas, Córdoba mountain sector, Argentina (30° 05' S 63° 55' W). This locality is well known for the impressive archaeological legacy recorded in rock art, almost 4200 painted and engraved motifs preserved inside sandstone shelters, made from ca. 400 AD until the arrival of the Spanish conquers in the XVI century. While previous research in the study area has focused mainly on archaeological sites, this work describes the sandstone landforms diversity. In this sense, some of the most geodiversity sceneries on Earth are supported by sandstones, solely or dominating over other rock types, and protected by different institutions as UNESCO. This study aims to characterize the geodiversity of Cerro Colorado by documenting the variety of sandstone morphologies and understanding their possible process origins within a global context. This contribution offers theoretical and applied knowledge that is of interest to different areas of environmental reconstruction and geoarchaeological research. The methodology includes 1) field survey and data collection, 2) sandstone landform inventory, 3) the estimation of the morphological component of geodiversity through the geomorphodiversity index (GmI). ALOS PALSAR DEM at 12.5 m spatial resolution was used as primary data. GmI = S + A + Dv + Ch + Cv + TPI + TWI + TRI; where, S: slope, A: aspect, Dv: deep valley, Ch: horizontal curvature, Cv: vertical curvature, TPI: topographic position index, TWI: topographic wetness index, TRI: topographic roughness index. The GmI was carried out on SAGAGIS through Rao's Q diversity index tool. The landforms are the results of the weathering and erosion processes caused by regional climate changes throughout the geological past (from the Mesozoic to the present day). The GmI considers five classes. The very low and low classes predominate in the study area (55%). The very low diversity refers to plains and eroded short sandstone hills connected with planation surfaces, pavement, and massive domes. The low range is associated with undulating and smooth sandstone shapes. The medium class shows undulating surfaces and the transition to moderately-strong slopes (8-14º). The high diversity is characterized by the middle slopes (14-20º), dominated by cavernous forms as tafoni and caves carved on the cliffs and standing out the presence of tors and rock balance. The very high class comprises steep slopes and deep valleys related to the highest sandstone heights (880 m.a.s.l.). The shelters (high class) contain native rock art paintings which conservation requires geomorphological knowledge to prevent degradation. The sandstone geodiversity of Cerro Colorado is one of the most attractive assets of the central Argentina region. Moreover, taking into account the pre-Hispanic archaeological legacy, this site presents a unique geomorphological and cultural heritage. Hence, the reserve needs special attention for geotourism promotion, scientific and educational uses, world heritage. This contribution allows (i) bridging the relationship between human interaction and sandstone landscapes which research line has not been developed yet for the study area, and (ii) considered an integrated management plan for geocultural conservation.

How to cite: Boretto, G., Cioccale, M., Gordillo, S., Carignano, C., and Recalde, A.: Geodiversity and Geoheritage of sandstone landscape: Cerro Colorado, Córdoba, Argentina, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9325, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-9325, 2022.