Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 269–284 | Cite as

The vegetation history of a coastal stone-age and iron-age settlement at 70°N, Norway

  • Christin JensenEmail author
Original Paper


The Holocene vegetation history of the islet of Melkøya at Hammerfest, Norway (70°42′N, 23°36′E) is documented by several pollen profiles sampled close to excavated stone-age and iron-age settlements. Local paludification began c. 9700 cal B.P. and oligotrophication from c. 7300 cal B.P. onwards. A Betula pubescensB.nana heath/woodland persisted until c. 8500 cal B.P., when a mixed Betula pubescensPinus sylvestris forest developed. Development towards an open heath is recorded from c. 4700 cal B.P. and culminates around 2700 cal B.P. A weak, possibly anthropogenic, impact is recognisable from c. 9200 cal. BP, but a marked local impact by man begins with the climate improvement and local forest development around 8500 cal B.P. The anthropogenic impact on the vegetation was the cutting of local woodland with an increase in grasses and herbs, the latter partly originating from the nitrophilous seashore vegetation. Forest clearance is recognisable at c. 6200 cal B.P., following a short period of re-growth after a burning event. Several anthropogenically related charred layers were formed in the peat before a longer period of abandonment from c. 3100 cal B.P. to c. 2000 cal B.P.


Pollen analysis Settlement history Forest development Pinus sylvestris Charcoal 



This investigation is financed by Statoil, Norway. I want to thank E. Elverland at The University of Tromsø, for preparing most of the pollen samples and to thank her and several other persons for assisting during field-work. I am grateful to K.-D. Vorren, M. Ramstad and A. Hesjedal at The University of Tromsø, for helpful discussions related to the manuscript. B. Aaby at The National Museum of Denmark and one anonymous referee are acknowledged for valuable comments. The Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, University of Waikato, New Zealand, has provided all radiocarbon dates.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway

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