Limits...
The palaeoenvironmental impact of prehistoric settlement and proto-historic urbanism: tracing the emergence of the Oppidum of Corent, Auvergne, France.

Ledger PM, Miras Y, Poux M, Milcent PY - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Although these features are clearly key indicators of human settlement, and characterise Neolithic and early to Middle Bronze Age impacts at Corent, they do not appear to represent defining features of a protohistoric urban environment.The Late Iron Age Gallic Oppidum of Corent is remarkable for the paucity of evidence for agriculture and strong representation of apophytes associated with disturbance.These results clearly indicate the value of local-scale palaeoecological studies and their potential for tracing the phases in the emergence of a proto-historic urban environment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, BP 10448, Clermont-Ferrand, France; CNRS, USR 3550, MSH, Clermont-Ferrand, France; CNRS, UMR 6042, GEOLAB, Clermont-Ferrand, France; Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Early human societies and their interactions with the natural world have been extensively explored in palaeoenvironmental studies across Central and Western Europe. Yet, despite an extensive body of scholarship, there is little consideration of the environmental impacts of proto-historic urbanisation. Typically palaeoenvironmental studies of Bronze and Iron Age societies discuss human impact in terms of woodland clearance, landscape openness and evidence for agriculture. Although these features are clearly key indicators of human settlement, and characterise Neolithic and early to Middle Bronze Age impacts at Corent, they do not appear to represent defining features of a protohistoric urban environment. The Late Iron Age Gallic Oppidum of Corent is remarkable for the paucity of evidence for agriculture and strong representation of apophytes associated with disturbance. Increased floristic diversity - a phenomenon also observed in more recent urban environments - was also noted. The same, although somewhat more pronounced, patterns are noted for the Late Bronze Age and hint at the possibility of a nascent urban area. High percentages of pollen from non-native trees such as Platanus, Castanea and Juglans in the late Bronze Age and Gallic period also suggest trade and cultural exchange, notably with the Mediterranean world. Indeed, these findings question the validity of applying Castanea and Juglans as absolute chronological markers of Romanisation. These results clearly indicate the value of local-scale palaeoecological studies and their potential for tracing the phases in the emergence of a proto-historic urban environment.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Pollen influx diagram showing total pollen influx with the Lactuceae curve overlaid (black), selected pollen types, sum of apophytes, sum of crops, sum of coprophilous fungi and microscopic charcoal influx plotted against the best fit from the smoothed spline Clam model.Exaggeration curves are x 5 for tree taxa and x10 for others. Pollen influx was calculated only for the region of the core where 14C dates are present.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4390215&req=5

pone.0121517.g009: Pollen influx diagram showing total pollen influx with the Lactuceae curve overlaid (black), selected pollen types, sum of apophytes, sum of crops, sum of coprophilous fungi and microscopic charcoal influx plotted against the best fit from the smoothed spline Clam model.Exaggeration curves are x 5 for tree taxa and x10 for others. Pollen influx was calculated only for the region of the core where 14C dates are present.

Mentions: The opening of COR-4 dates to 815–700 cal. BC, the beginning of the Iron Age in France, and is notable for a number of changes that complicate interpretation of the assemblages. Primary among these is a rising contribution from resistant pollen types such as Lactuceae, Chenopodiaceae and Asteroideae (Fig. 7) and higher indeterminable pollen percentages (Fig. 6) that point to a degree of post depositional biasing [47]. Increased pollen concentrations (Fig. 7) and rising pollen influx (Fig. 9) imply that an element of this may relate to secondary pollen in-wash [15, 54], however, poor preservation conditions are also likely to be responsible. COR-4 records the highest values for Zygnema-type (up to 15%), which is associated with shallow seasonally dry lakes, pools and wet areas [55]; conditions that are far from favourable for the preservation of pollen [30]. Ascertaining the extent to which either process is responsible, or if these patterns are solely a result of post-depositional biasing, is problematic. A proportion of the mentioned resistant taxa – such as Lactuceae – probably derive from plants linked with ruderal environments associated with human activity, for which there is strong evidence. Charcoal concentrations reach their highest values in COR-4, AP, likely deriving from trees local to the plateau, remains low, and other apophytes are well represented. Furthermore, increases in AP from trees such as Fagus, Tilia and in particular Abies suggest that the rising pollen influx (Fig. 9) may be a function of a highly open landscape and that in COR-4 the lake is sampling a wider more regional pollen rain [56].


The palaeoenvironmental impact of prehistoric settlement and proto-historic urbanism: tracing the emergence of the Oppidum of Corent, Auvergne, France.

Ledger PM, Miras Y, Poux M, Milcent PY - PLoS ONE (2015)

Pollen influx diagram showing total pollen influx with the Lactuceae curve overlaid (black), selected pollen types, sum of apophytes, sum of crops, sum of coprophilous fungi and microscopic charcoal influx plotted against the best fit from the smoothed spline Clam model.Exaggeration curves are x 5 for tree taxa and x10 for others. Pollen influx was calculated only for the region of the core where 14C dates are present.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4390215&req=5

pone.0121517.g009: Pollen influx diagram showing total pollen influx with the Lactuceae curve overlaid (black), selected pollen types, sum of apophytes, sum of crops, sum of coprophilous fungi and microscopic charcoal influx plotted against the best fit from the smoothed spline Clam model.Exaggeration curves are x 5 for tree taxa and x10 for others. Pollen influx was calculated only for the region of the core where 14C dates are present.
Mentions: The opening of COR-4 dates to 815–700 cal. BC, the beginning of the Iron Age in France, and is notable for a number of changes that complicate interpretation of the assemblages. Primary among these is a rising contribution from resistant pollen types such as Lactuceae, Chenopodiaceae and Asteroideae (Fig. 7) and higher indeterminable pollen percentages (Fig. 6) that point to a degree of post depositional biasing [47]. Increased pollen concentrations (Fig. 7) and rising pollen influx (Fig. 9) imply that an element of this may relate to secondary pollen in-wash [15, 54], however, poor preservation conditions are also likely to be responsible. COR-4 records the highest values for Zygnema-type (up to 15%), which is associated with shallow seasonally dry lakes, pools and wet areas [55]; conditions that are far from favourable for the preservation of pollen [30]. Ascertaining the extent to which either process is responsible, or if these patterns are solely a result of post-depositional biasing, is problematic. A proportion of the mentioned resistant taxa – such as Lactuceae – probably derive from plants linked with ruderal environments associated with human activity, for which there is strong evidence. Charcoal concentrations reach their highest values in COR-4, AP, likely deriving from trees local to the plateau, remains low, and other apophytes are well represented. Furthermore, increases in AP from trees such as Fagus, Tilia and in particular Abies suggest that the rising pollen influx (Fig. 9) may be a function of a highly open landscape and that in COR-4 the lake is sampling a wider more regional pollen rain [56].

Bottom Line: Although these features are clearly key indicators of human settlement, and characterise Neolithic and early to Middle Bronze Age impacts at Corent, they do not appear to represent defining features of a protohistoric urban environment.The Late Iron Age Gallic Oppidum of Corent is remarkable for the paucity of evidence for agriculture and strong representation of apophytes associated with disturbance.These results clearly indicate the value of local-scale palaeoecological studies and their potential for tracing the phases in the emergence of a proto-historic urban environment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, BP 10448, Clermont-Ferrand, France; CNRS, USR 3550, MSH, Clermont-Ferrand, France; CNRS, UMR 6042, GEOLAB, Clermont-Ferrand, France; Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Early human societies and their interactions with the natural world have been extensively explored in palaeoenvironmental studies across Central and Western Europe. Yet, despite an extensive body of scholarship, there is little consideration of the environmental impacts of proto-historic urbanisation. Typically palaeoenvironmental studies of Bronze and Iron Age societies discuss human impact in terms of woodland clearance, landscape openness and evidence for agriculture. Although these features are clearly key indicators of human settlement, and characterise Neolithic and early to Middle Bronze Age impacts at Corent, they do not appear to represent defining features of a protohistoric urban environment. The Late Iron Age Gallic Oppidum of Corent is remarkable for the paucity of evidence for agriculture and strong representation of apophytes associated with disturbance. Increased floristic diversity - a phenomenon also observed in more recent urban environments - was also noted. The same, although somewhat more pronounced, patterns are noted for the Late Bronze Age and hint at the possibility of a nascent urban area. High percentages of pollen from non-native trees such as Platanus, Castanea and Juglans in the late Bronze Age and Gallic period also suggest trade and cultural exchange, notably with the Mediterranean world. Indeed, these findings question the validity of applying Castanea and Juglans as absolute chronological markers of Romanisation. These results clearly indicate the value of local-scale palaeoecological studies and their potential for tracing the phases in the emergence of a proto-historic urban environment.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus