Arctic Siberian environments during the last Interglacial

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  • Abstracts / Quaternary International 279-280 (2012) 462565532occurred as early as 128-118 ka. The link between modern humans andrainforests has been established at sites such as Niah Cave, Sarawak, wherethey flourished using elaborate subsistence behavior and sophisticated,habitat-tailored hunting techniques. Therefore, could these gaps containevidence of modern human arrival in SEA during early rainforest expan-sion? In this paper, we present preliminary results of a novel approach toaddressing this question; 1) using breccias instead of unconsolidatedsediments, which are well-preserved, rich in habitat-diagnostic fossils andrepresent a valuable source of palaeoenvironmental evidence; 2) applyingan appropriate dating strategy red TL, U-series, ESR/U-series combinedtechniques, and; 3) employing novel fossil ID procedures. This analysisdemonstrates the potential of breccia deposits to provide fresh insightsinto the timing of human dispersal in Asia.


    Kieran Westley. University of Ulster, United KingdomE-mail address:

    The known human occupation of Ireland began in the Mesolithic, between10-9000 cal BP. During this period, relative sea-level change aroundIreland was spatially and temporally complex, a result of isostatic adjust-ment stemming from removal of the ice sheet which covered the islandduring the Last Glacial. Consequently, coastal areas favored by its earliestinhabitants are now submerged by anywhere between 5 to 40 m belowpresent sea-level depending on local patterns of isostatic rebound. Thispaper outlines work currently being undertaken to reconstruct thesesubmerged archaeological landscapes off the north coast of Ireland usingfull-coverage high-resolution multibeam echo-sounder and seismicprofiler data sets. These data, informed by extant sea-level data fromglacio-isostatic models and observations, have been used to produce time-stepped palaeo-geographic reconstructions. These in turn have facilitatedthe identification of areas of high archaeological potential. Areas of highpotential are identified on the basis of (a) whether a given area wasexposed during sea-level lowstand and was attractive to past humans (e.g.providing shelter, access to inland and coastal resources, freshwater andraw material sources), and (b) the likelihood of burial rather than erosionof palaeo-land surfaces as sea level rose. The aim of this research istwofold. Firstly, to place the extant Irish Mesolithic record in a moreaccurate palaeo-geogrpahic and palaeo-environmental context andsecondly, to use these reconstructions to target sampling exercises whichwill obtain new archaeological and palaeo-environmental evidence thatcan shed light on Ireland's earliest colonists and their interaction withchanging landscapes of the early Holocene.


    Oliver Wetter. Universitt Bern / Oeschger Centre for Climate Cha,SwitzerlandE-mail address:

    History of natural disasters has become a key topic during the last decade,not least because of the widespread impression that the world in our daysis being hit by such events at more frequent intervals. The still very youngscientific field of Historical Hydrology mainly concentrates on recon-structing flood events of the pre instrumental period, usually by specifyingdamages caused or occasionally by addressing the issue to inundationheights or meteorological reasons. This paper in contrast is going to shedlight on discharge quantities of several pre instrumental floods in sucha way that comparisons between instrumental measured and unmeasuredpre instrumental floods can be drawn for the first time. Why Rhine floodsat Basel? The evidence for this town from the Middle Ages up to thepresent days is well preserved, because Basel was never destroyed againsince the disastrous earthquake in 1356 which nearly annihilated thetown. Narrative reports of trustworthy contemporary town chroniclers areat hand more or less without gaps from the thirteenth to the eighteenthcentury and most major events are so well documented that the peakwater level as well as the size and location of inundated areas could beassessed. Other events are documented with flood marks (covering theperiod between mid seventeenth- and nineteenth century) and news-paper flood reports set in at the very end of the eighteenth century. In 1808a gauge was established. The traditional scheme of flood reporting docu-mented in nineteenth century newspapers was compared with flood-marks and gauge readings. The intercomparison of narrative with instru-mental evidence allowed calibrating flood information from the MedievalPeriod. Based on this calibration hydrologists attempted discharge calcu-lations based upon a one dimensional numerical flood routing model. Theresult is a 742 year long quantified flood series (m3 s-1) giving valuablehints for the assessment of return periods of > 100 years.


    Sebastian Wetterich. Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and MarineResearch, GermanyE-mail address:

    Late Quaternary permafrost deposits at coastal permafrost sections of theDmitry Laptev Strait (East Siberian Sea) reveal proxy data on environ-mental and landscape dynamics at least during the last two glacial-interglacial cycles. Palaeoenvironmental records of the last Interglacial(MIS 5e; ca. 130 - 115 kyr ago) are preserved in lacustrine sedimentsexposed along the studied coasts. Due to climate warming the transitionfrom glacial to interglacial conditions induced extensive thawing of ice-rich permafrost (thermokarst). Evolving thermokarst depressions trans-formed formerly frozen ground into taberal (thawed and refrozen)deposits. The overlying lacustrine thermokarst deposits are fossil-rich,including plants, insects (beetles, chironomids), ostracods and gastro-pods. Mean temperature reconstructions of the warmest month (MTWA)based on quantitative chironomid transfer functions revealed a MTWA of12.90.9 C for the interglacial thermal optimum whereas the MTWAcoexistence interval of plants proven by macrofossils reaches from 12.7 to13.6 C. Low net precipitation is reflected by steppe plants and beetles.Terrestrial beetle and plant remains prove the former existence of openforest tundra with Dahurian larch (Larix dahurica), grey alder (Alnusincana) and boreal shrubs (Duschekia fruticosa, Betula fruticosa, B. divar-icata, B. nana) interspersed with patches of steppes and meadows.Aquatic organisms such as chironomids, ostracods, gastropods andhydrophytes, and littoral pioneer plants indicate intense lake level fluc-tuations due to high evaporation.The temperature reconstruction based on independent approachesconsistently indicates an interglacial MTWA about 10C higher thanpresent and is interpreted as a result of combined increased insolation andhigher climatic continentality during the last Interglacial.


    Nicki Whitehouse. Queen's University Belfast, United KingdomE-mail address:

    A defining characteristic of the Neolithic is the appearance of domesticatedplants and animals, alongside changes in material culture and mortuarypractices. Although there has been huge debate about the mechanisms ofthe transition to agriculture, there has been relatively less discussion ofwhat happens after its arrival. What was the nature and timing of activitiesin terms of subsistence economy, settlement patterns and the nature andscale of the effects of these on the wider landscape and environment? Didthese vary across space and time?What was the climate context associatedwith early agriculture?#Here,weexplore these issues by reference to Ireland and itswider context,drawing uponpublished and unpublished evidence. Thework forms part ofthe Republic of Ireland's Heritage Council INSTAR 2008-2010 researchprogramme. The nature of the evidence analysed is diverse, multi-strandand complimentary: palaeoecological data (pollen, stratigraphic, dendro-chronological), archaeological (domestic structures, alongside burial andritual monuments) and associated economic data (in particular, macro-botanical remains). Amajornewdating programme, focusingon short-livedsamples, has allowed to examine the sequence of archaeological andpalaeoecological events inmuch greater detail thanpreviously revealing anabrupt transition to agriculture, from c. 3800 cal BC, in particular associated

    Reconstructing submerged archaeological landscapes off the north coast of IrelandHow extreme where the Floods of River Rhine in the pre-instrumental Period? A novel interdisciplinary approach to reconstru ...Arctic Siberian environments during the last InterglacialNeolithic agriculture, economy, landscape and chronology in the north west of Europe; placing Ireland in its wider context


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