The impact of the 9.3 cooling event on the human environment in the southern North Sea basin

Author(s): Erick Robinson; Philippe Crombé

Year: 2015


In a recent paper Robinson et al. (2013) could synchronize major changes in Mesolithic armatures and the development of the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt Culture with the abrupt cooling event of 9.3 cal BP. It is suggested that this climatic event led to environmental stress which triggered the development of inter-regional social networks, e.g. by expanding long-distance raw material exchange and creating particular socially symbolic artifact types. Yet, the impact of the 9.3 cooling event on the landscape, in particular the vegetation, still remain badly understood due to a lack of sedimentary deposits.

Today, new evidence has become available which points to a marked increase of forest fires at the onset of this particular cooling event. In this contribution we will investigate whether there is a causal relationship between both and which impact these forest fires may have had on contemporaneous hunter-gatherers. One possible explanation is that the colder and drier conditions connected to the 9.3 event induced the burning of large stands of trees. Alternatively the increase in forest fires may reflect a response of hunter-gatherers to abrupt cooling. Controlled burning of the forest may have been applied in view of stimulating particular plant species (e.g. hazel) and/or optimizing the hunting.

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Cite this Record

The impact of the 9.3 cooling event on the human environment in the southern North Sea basin. Philippe Crombé, Erick Robinson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394963)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;