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Long-term development of landscape openness and arable land use in an agricultural region of southern Sweden: the potential of REVEALS estimates using pollen records from wells

  • Per LageråsEmail author
  • Erik Daniel Fredh
Original Article
  • 53 Downloads

Abstract

The twofold aim of this study was to investigate the long-term landscape development in an intensely cultivated region of south-western Scania, southern Sweden, and to discuss the potential of pollen records from wells for this purpose. Pollen records from 36 different wells from 12 archaeological sites were compiled. Based on 35 of the wells, ranging ca 800 cal bc–cal ad 1900, regional vegetation cover for seven different time-windows was quantified using the REVEALS model and a multiple small sites approach. According to the REVALS output, landscape openness was high and relatively constant during the last ca 2,500 years (open-land vegetation covered 90–97%), whereas arable land use expanded more gradually (cereal vegetation expanded from 9% cover 800–500 bc to 38% cover ad 1700–1900). This gradual increase in arable farming at the expense of grassland enabled an increase in food production within an already agriculturally colonized landscape. The REVEALS estimates based on pollen records from wells were in general accordance with earlier published REVEALS reconstructions based on lake sediments from neighbouring regions. A GIS analysis of arable land use in south-western Scania around ad 1800, based on old cadastral maps, gave similar results as the REVEALS reconstruction of cereal vegetation cover for the ad 1700–1900 time-window. It gives support to the conclusion that pollen records from wells may be used for REVEALS reconstructions of past vegetation cover.

Keywords

Well Pollen REVEALS Arable land use Landscape openness 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the anonymous reviewers for constructive comments. The paper was presented at the EAA meeting in Barcelona 2018, at the session ‘Exploring the Potential of Palynology in Archaeological Contexts’.

Supplementary material

334_2019_756_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (806 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 805 kb)
334_2019_756_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 26 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Historical MuseumsLundSweden
  2. 2.Museum of ArchaeologyUniversity of StavangerStavangerNorway

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