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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 329–346 | Cite as

Holocene vegetation and climate history of the northern Golan heights (Near East)

  • Frank Neumann
  • Christian Schölzel
  • Thomas Litt
  • Andreas Hense
  • Mordechai Stein
Original Article

Abstract

In this paper we present and discuss palynological results based on a composite profile from Birkat Ram crater lake (Northern Golan, Near East) in order to reconstruct the environmental history, including human impact, of the last 6500 years. Furthermore we apply a newly-developed botanical climatological transfer function to reconstruct climate variations in the northern Golan Heights based on this pollen data-set. The Birkat Ram record is strongly influenced by anthropogenic indicators in the pollen diagram with high quantities during the Chalcolithic period/Early Bronze Age, during the Hellenistic-Roman-Byzantine periods, during the Crusader period and finally during modern times. The palaeoclimate reconstruction method used is based on a Bayesian approach and is robust in avoiding the influence of these strong anthropogenic signals on the reconstruction results. The area has always had Mediterranean climate conditions and no distinctive climate changes can be identified during the past 6500 years. Because of the orography of the Mt. Hermon region the particular geographical position of the northern Golan Heights is obviously capable of buffering large-scale fluctuations in precipitation, which have otherwise been documented for several regions in the Near East.

Keywords

Holocene Palynology Palaeoclimate Golan heights 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Financial support was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research for the project “Vegetation and climate development in the Dead Sea region during the last 15000 years” (T. Litt and A. Hense as principal investigators). We thank H.J.B. Birks and H. Woldring for valuable comments.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Neumann
    • 1
  • Christian Schölzel
    • 2
  • Thomas Litt
    • 1
  • Andreas Hense
    • 2
  • Mordechai Stein
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for PalaeontologyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Meteorological InstituteUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.Geological Survey of IsraelJerusalemIsrael

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