Pollen and non-pollen palynomorph evidence of medieval farming activities in southwestern Greenland
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- Gauthier, E., Bichet, V., Massa, C. et al. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2010) 19: 427. doi:10.1007/s00334-010-0251-5
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Radiocarbon dating, pollen and non-pollen palynomorph analyses from a lake core were used to establish the timing and effects of farming activities around Lake Igaliku, Eastern Settlement, Greenland. The absence of agro-pastoral impact before the medieval colonization by Europeans provides an opportunity to understand the development of farming activity in a pristine landscape. The results show that the first phase of clearance and grazing pressure, without the expansion of the Norse apophyte (native plant, in habitats created by humans) Rumex acetosa type, could have occurred in the 9–10th century a.d. The presence of Norse settlers and livestock is clearly recorded from the 11–12th century a.d. with increasing frequencies of the Norse apophytes Rumex acetosa type and Ranunculus acris type, and coprophilous fungi. This colonization phase is followed by a period of decreasing human impact at the beginning of the 14th century, with a decrease in weeds, apophytes and coprophilous fungi suggesting a reduced grazing pressure. The regrowth of Salix and Betula and the disappearance of anthropogenic indicators except Rumex acetosa type between the 15th and 18th century demonstrate the abandonment of the settlement, until the development of contemporary agriculture in the 20th century.