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Plant use and local vegetation patterns during the second half of the Late Pleistocene in southwestern Germany

TitlePlant use and local vegetation patterns during the second half of the Late Pleistocene in southwestern Germany
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRiehl, S, Marinova, E, Deckers, K, Malina, M, Conard, N
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Date PublishedMarch
AbstractIn light of recent discoveries of early figurative art in Paleolithic sites of southwestern Germany, gaining an improved understanding of biological, cultural, and social development of these hunter-gatherer populations under past environmental conditions is essential. The analysis of botanical micro- and macrofossils from the Hohle Fels Cave contributes to the limited floral record from this region. These data suggest generally open vegetation, with the presence of wood near Hohle Fels, as indicated by pollen, phytoliths, and evidence from wood charcoal throughout the whole sequence of occupation. The Aurignacian horizons (early Upper Paleolithic, starting around 44,200 calibrated years before present (cal yr BP) correlate with prevailing shrub tundra. Few arboreal pollen in the transitional section from the Aurignacian to the Gravettian horizons (middle Upper Paleolithic, until ca. 32 cal yr BP) supports the model of an interglacial tundra with a mosaic of cold steppe elements and some patches of woody species. In the Gravettian, the macrobotanical and the palynological records indicate colder climatic conditions and a generally reduced presence of wood patches. Few seed remains, mostly of the Asteraceae and Poaceae families suggesting the use of these plants. The collection of bearberry (Arctostaphylos sp.) for specific purposes is indicated by large amounts of bark fragments.
DOI10.1007/s12520-014-0182-7
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