Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
EXPLORING THE LONG-TERM DYNAMICS BETWEEN HOLOCENE CLIMATE, LANDSCAPE AND HUMANS FROM WESTERN SERBIA, CENTRAL BALKANS
The Balkans are considered a “European biodiversity hotspot” as the region has outstanding levels of floral and faunal endemism and provided a refugium for many species during the past Ice Ages. Moreover, there is a long history of human presence; the location of the Balkans at the crossroads of three major continents provides an excellent geographic setting for occupation and migration. Given the geological, environmental, and social framework of the area, we explore the impacts of climate and human activities on the Holocene landscape in western Serbia, Central Balkans. The study emphasizes the Bronze Age (ca. 4200-3000 yr BP), a period of significant technological and agricultural change that greatly modified the landscape and environment in Europe. A 2.1-m sediment core was extracted from a sinkhole lake near Donja Sipulja (44°30’N-19°30’E; elevation 250 m a.s.l.). The core was sampled at 10-cm intervals and standardized chemical techniques were used to isolate the pollen and spores for microscopic identification and statistical analysis. Results from this study demonstrate distinctive pollen assemblages from temperate indigenous trees (e.g. Quercus, Betula) and herbaceous taxa (e.g. Chenopodiceae, Artemisia) along with key anthropogenic indicator species (e.g. Juglans, Cornus) from the Balkans. AMS 14C dates of the macrofossil remains provide the timeframe of ecological changes and human-environmental interactions during the Holocene. We compare our results with palaeoclimate records from other parts of the Balkans and place this Balkan paleorecord in a larger perspective. These ecological datasets will be eventually linked with social datasets, mainly archaeobotanical remains from the Bronze Age sites from the region. Temporal and spatial correlation of all socio-ecological indicators will assess and model long-term societal and environmental resilience for the Central Balkans.