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A late Holocene pollen record from Lake Almalou in NW Iran: evidence for changing land-use in relation to some historical events during the last 3700 years

Abstract : A pollen diagram was prepared from Lake Almalou, a volcanic crater wetland located on the eastern flanks of the Sahand Volcanic Complex in NW Iran. The core provides a 3700-year record of human activity and environmental change in an upland region. We attempt to relate vegetation changes to both climatic change and historical events. Variations of anthropogenic pollen indicators suggest several phases of intensified human activities. Two strongly expressed agricultural phases are dated at about 2450-2220 cal BP (Achaemenid Empire) and 230-30 cal BP (collapse of Safavid Dynasty to the modern period). Historical rather than climatic events appear to be the main controlling factors for upland land-use dynamics. Fru-ticulture has been practiced in the region at least since the Iron Age, reaching its maximum importance 1500-1250 cal BP during the reign of Sassanid Empire; it declined by the time of Islamic conquest of Iran (651 AD). The Little Ice Age is tangibly recorded by higher lake water levels most probably due to both lower summer temperatures and higher annual precipitations. Low values of cereal-type and cultivated tree pollen during this period may indicate a change in the lifestyle from the cultivation of fields and orchards to a more nomadic life dominated by summer pasture. The modern period (1850 AD onwards) is characterized by expansion of agricultural activities to upland areas and intensified pastoralism.
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Morteza Djamali, Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu, Valérie Andrieu-Ponel, Manuel Berberian, Naomi Miller, et al.. A late Holocene pollen record from Lake Almalou in NW Iran: evidence for changing land-use in relation to some historical events during the last 3700 years. Journal of Archaeological Science, Elsevier, 2009, 36 (7), pp.1364-1375. ⟨10.1016/j.jas.2009.01.022⟩. ⟨hal-02959188⟩

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