Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 55–66 | Cite as

The Holocene history of vegetation and settlement at the coastal site of Lake Voulkaria in Acarnania, western Greece

  • Susanne Jahns
Original Article


A palynological investigation of a Holocene profile from Lake Voulkaria, western Greece, was carried out as a contribution to the environmental history of the coastal area of northwestern Acarnania and the Classical city of Palairos. It shows that deciduous oaks dominated the natural vegetation of the area throughout the Holocene. Until ca. 7000 B.C. Pistacia occurred abundantly, while other evergreen woody taxa were rare. At ca. 6300 B.C. an expansion of Carpinus orientalis/Ostrya can be observed. Around ca. 5300 B.C. spreading of Erica indicates a change to a drier climate and/or first human impact. Since ca. 3500 B.C. an increase of evergreen shrubs now clearly indicates land-use. The foundation of the Classical city of Palairos led to a temporary expansion of Phillyrea maquis. Within this period, molluscs of brackish water indicate the use of the lake as a harbour after the construction of a connection to the sea. The deciduous Quercus woodland recovered when human impact decreased in the area, and lasted until modern times.


Western Greece Holocene Palynology Archaeology Human impact 



This study is part of the project “Investigations on the history of vegetation and settlement of Acarnania (north-western Greece)”, which was supported by a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) to E. Grüger, Department of Palynology and Quaternary Sciences, University of Göttingen (GR 1067/2). I am indebted to E.-L. Schwandner, German Archaeological Institute, Berlin and to F. Lang, Seminar of Classical Archaeology, Humboldt-University, Berlin, for their logistic support and many discussions and ideas; furthermore to A. Vött, Dept. of Geography, University of Marburg, for giving information on the “brown layer” and to K. Freitag, Institute of History, University of Münster, for the discussion of the historical reports of Strabo. The radiocarbon dating was carried out by P.M. Grootes and co-workers at the Leibniz Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Isotope Research, University of Kiel. Special thanks are due to P.M. Grootes for his great help with the interpretation of the data. The core was taken by E. and V. Grüger. M. Wohlfahrt, N. Nöske, M. Wassill and V. Podsiadlowski prepared the samples. F. Thomas, University of Göttingen, accounted for the measurement of the conductivity of Lake Voulkaria. I further wish to express my gratitude to L. Kolonnas of the Ephorie of Antiquities of Patras for his support


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches LandesmuseumWünsdorfGermany

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