Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 187–203 | Cite as

From foraging to farming in the Great Mazurian Lake District: palynological studies on Lake Miłkowskie sediments, northeast Poland

  • Agnieszka Wacnik
Original Article


Early and mid Holocene local vegetational history, with special reference to woodland communities, was revealed by pollen analysis of a radiocarbon dated lake sediment profile from Lake Miłkowskie (Jezioro Miłkowskie) in northeastern Poland. The main factor controlling the dynamics of woodland composition changes until ca. 1950 b.c. was climate. After that, the role of human activity became increasingly important. The results of high-resolution pollen analyses provide evidence for early woodland disturbances caused by Mesolithic people at ca. 6950 b.c. Several episodes of human impact, differing in scale, and separated by subsequent episodes of woodland regeneration/stabilization were noted. The first traces of local crop farming, shown by the presence of Cerealia pollen, were recorded at ca. 3800 b.c. in the Paraneolithic/Neolithic period. Animal husbandry as well as cereal cultivation played only a marginal role in the economy, which was traditionally based on hunting, fishing and gathering through the Neolithic and the early Bronze Age. The change in economic strategies from foraging towards farming, starting around 3750 b.c., was a long-lasting process. An increase of productive economy took place in the middle Bronze Age at ca. 1400 b.c.


Vegetation history Human impact Mesolithic-Neolithic and Neolithic-Bronze Age transitions Early Cerealia type pollen Northeast Poland 



The paper presents a part of an interdisciplinary project supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, grants no. 6 P04F 083 20 and no. 2 P04F 030 27. I wish to express special thanks to M. Ralska-Jasiewiczowa for her steady support and encouragement during the studies, to T. Goslar, J. Czernik, and A. Tatur for their great help during field and laboratory work and for helpful discussions of obtained results. I am also grateful to M. Latałowa and an anonymous reviewer for very detailed editorial remarks and many helpful suggestions on the manuscript.


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© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland

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