Approaching Equifinality: Pollen and Non-pollen Palynomorphs as Complementary Paleoecological Proxies
Author(s): Ryan Szymanski
In analyses of paleoenvironmental records, the specific effects of climate/precipitation patterns and human landscape impacts on ancient ecologies can be difficult to discern. As largely substrate-specific in nature, fungal spores may serve as proxy for a range of phenomena, such as soil erosion, landscape burning, vegetation clearance, moisture availability, and the existence of particular plant types in a given area. Microbotanicals, including pollen, fungal spores, phytoliths, and microcharcoal, isolated from a 2.5 meter sediment core recovered from Kingwal Swamp in western Kenya are used here to demonstrate the value of fungal palynomorphs as environmental indicators, particularly when employed in concert with these more traditional proxy types. I illustrate how cross-checking of palynological interpretations with fungal data can be used to refine models of landscape change and increase interpretive confidence via the elimination of equifinal trajectories potentially responsible for observed archaeological and paleoecological data patterning. Examination of congruence, or lack thereof, between these lines of evidence can thus render past human ecological impacts more easily visible.
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Approaching Equifinality: Pollen and Non-pollen Palynomorphs as Complementary Paleoecological Proxies. Ryan Szymanski. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445052)
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min long: 24.082; min lat: -26.746 ; max long: 56.777; max lat: 17.309 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21932