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The impact of the 8.2 kyr cal BP event on Late Mesolithic demography in the central Mediterranean region of Spain

Author(s): Javier Fernandez-Lopez De Pablo ; Magdalena Gómez Puche ; Samantha Jones ; Francesc Burjachs

Year: 2015

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Summary

The central Mediterranean region of the Iberian Peninsula witnessed two major environmental processes affecting early and middle Holocene hunter-gatherers: rapid sea-level rise, with the consequent flooding of coastal plains; and the replacement of open-landscape by forest- taxa.

In this context, much less is known regarding how the 8.2 kyr cal BP climatic event impacted Late Mesolithic human populations. Using multiple lines of archaeological and paleoenvironmental evidence, in this paper we investigate the effects of the 8.2 kyr cal BP event on human demography, subsistence, settlement distribution and socio-ecological interactions at local and regional scales.

New multi-proxy paleoenvironmental reconstructions on lake deposits and geologic studies on the continental shelf allow an appraisal of the changes produced by the 8.2 kyr cal BP event on hydrological systems and eustatic changes. In addition, we used an audited database of geo-referenced radiocarbon dates, transformed to occupation events, as a demographic proxy to compare relative population levels before, during and after the 8.2 kyr cal BP event.

The regional radiocarbon record suggests a chronological correlation between the reduction of Late Mesolithic sites and the 8.2 kyr cal BP event. However, the paleoenvironmental and archaeological results indicate differences when comparing local and regional scenarios.

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The impact of the 8.2 kyr cal BP event on Late Mesolithic demography in the central Mediterranean region of Spain. Javier Fernandez-Lopez De Pablo, Samantha Jones, Magdalena Gómez Puche, Francesc Burjachs. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395691)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America