Vegetation History of the Upper Leventina Valley from Neolithic to Roman Times, Recorded by Pollen, Spores, Plant Macrofossils, and Charcoal

Vescovi, Elisa; Tinner, Willy; Beer, Ruth; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline F. N.; Steinhauser, Ursula; Ziegler, Stephanie; Gilli, Adrian; Wirth, Stefanie B.; Samartin, Stéphanie; Jacquat, Christiane; Carraro, Gabriele (2018). Vegetation History of the Upper Leventina Valley from Neolithic to Roman Times, Recorded by Pollen, Spores, Plant Macrofossils, and Charcoal. In: Della Casa, Philippe (ed.) The Leventina Prehistoric Landscape (Alpine Ticino Valley, Switzerland). Zurich Studies in Archaeology: Vol. 12_2018 (pp. 207-225). Zürich: Chronos Verlag

[img] Text
2018_LeventinaPrehist_10_207o.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (4MB) | Request a copy

We use pollen, spores plant macrofossils, microscopic charcoal and radiocarbon dates to reconstruct vegetation changes in the upper Leventina valley (Ticino, Swiss Alps) since the beginning of the Neolithic. Two mires and two lakes were investigated in the framework of several palaeoecological projects interrelated with archaeological investigations at the Airolo-Madrano (Ticino) archaeological site. Our records suggest that first transient openings of vegetation started during the Early Neolithic around 5200 cal BC caused by early agricultural activities. With increasing human disturbance Picea abies (spruce) gradually almost completely replaced Abies alba (silver fir) in the montane belt and Pinus cembra (stone pine) in the subalpine belt. A few centuries after the beginning of the Bronze Age (ca. 2000 cal BC) forest fires increased moderately in the upper Leventina valley, and in the montane and subalpine belts Alnus viridis (green alder) expanded, pointing to a further moderate increase of land use. Besides grazing, cereals were cultivated at favourable sites from the lowlands to the subalpine belt. Only during and after the Roman period the landscape became more open, likely as a consequence of the use of efficient cultivation tools (e.g. scythes) and approaches (e.g. hay making). Today's landscape including the remaining forests is thus the result of millennium-long human activities aiming at forming and keeping an environment that is suitable for land use.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Vescovi, Elisa; Tinner, Willy; Beer, Ruth; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline and Samartin, Stéphanie

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

2571-5712

ISBN:

9783034013437

Series:

Zurich Studies in Archaeology

Publisher:

Chronos Verlag

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2018 09:12

Last Modified:

09 Oct 2018 15:27

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.117142

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/117142

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback