Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 279–299 | Cite as

Vegetation history, climate and human impact over the last 15,000 years at Lago dell’Accesa (Tuscany, Central Italy)

  • Ruth Drescher-SchneiderEmail author
  • Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu
  • Michel Magny
  • Anne-Véronique Walter-Simonnet
  • Gilles Bossuet
  • Laurent Millet
  • Elisabetta Brugiapaglia
  • Anton Drescher
Original Article


Interdisciplinary studies of the sediments of Lago dell’Accesa started in 2001. We present here results from the palynological study. The pollen diagram provides a record of vegetation and climatic change spanning over 15,000 years. The oldest pollen spectra show a late-glacial steppe vegetation typical of central and southern Italy during this period. The Late-glacial Interstadial, interrupted by two cooling events, is dominated by open deciduous oak forests. The Younger Dryas is represented by 150 cm of sediment and shows the presence of steppic vegetation. The Holocene vegetation is characterised by alternating dominance of deciduous oaks and Quercus ilex. The three zones characterised by Q. ilex are accompanied by peat layers marking lake-level lowering at ca. 8600–7900, 4600–4300 and 3700–2800 cal b.p. Between approximately 9000 and 6000 cal b.p. extensive Abies-forests existed on the Colline Metallifere located 15–20 km to the north and northeast of the lake. Local fir populations may also have existed by the lake. Human impact starts at approximately 8000 cal b.p. during the Neolithic period, and increases at ca. 4300 cal b.p. Castanea and Juglans pollen is recorded from ca. 2800 cal b.p. The impact of the Etruscan settlement near the lakeshore is shown in the increasing values of arable crops, species of secondary forest canopy (Ericaceae, Pinus, Pistacia, Myrtus) and anthropogenic indicators (Chenopodiaceae, Plantago lanceolata, Rumex etc).


Pollen analysis Central Italy Late Pleistocene Holocene Mediterranean vegetation Human impact Abies 



This study is a part of a project directed by J.-L. de Beaulieu and M. Magny and financially supported by the French CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) within the framework of the ECLIPSE programme (Past Environments and Climates) and by the European program ACCROTELM. We sincerely thank H.-J. Beug and E. Grüger (Göttingen) for help in pollen identification, P. Biagi (Venezia) and G. Camporeale (Firenze) for answers to archaeological problems, S. Brewer and J. Daniell for correction of the text, the laboratory crews of Marseille and Besançon for the chemical treatment of the pollen samples, L. Sadori and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive reviews. We also thank the Pacini family (agriturismo Poggio Corbello) for their help with the field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Drescher-Schneider
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu
    • 2
  • Michel Magny
    • 3
  • Anne-Véronique Walter-Simonnet
    • 4
  • Gilles Bossuet
    • 3
  • Laurent Millet
    • 3
  • Elisabetta Brugiapaglia
    • 5
  • Anton Drescher
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für PflanzenwissenschaftenKarl-Franzens-UniversitätGrazAustria
  2. 2.Institut Méditerranéen d’Ecologie et Paléoécologie (IMEP)UMR 6116 du CNRS, Université Paul CézanneAix-en-ProvenceFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Chrono-Ecologie (LCE)UMR 6565 du CNRS, UFR des Sciences et TechniquesBesançonFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire de GéosciencesUFR des Sciences et TechniquesBesançonFrance
  5. 5.Dipartimento di Scienze AnimaliVegetali e dell’Ambiente, Facoltà di Agraria, Università degli Studi del MoliseCampobassoItaly

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