Predictive Middle Palaeolithic climatic conditions from Eastern Iberia: a methodological approach based on charcoal analysis and modelling

  • Paloma Vidal-MatutanoEmail author
  • Salvador Pardo-Gordó
Original Paper


Ecological and climate modelling is increasingly common in archaeological science as it is a useful tool to analyse human behaviour and ecological variables that influenced the conformation of landscapes. Predictive vegetation models, mainly based on palynological data, provide meaningful information about the theoretical distribution of plant formations in the past by creating different hypothetical scenarios. However, factors linked to variability in pollen productivity according to taxa and to the regional scale offered by this proxy in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions have led some authors to propose the use of macrobotanical data in order to detect a higher number of ecological nuances on a local scale. In this paper, we present the results of a study aimed at characterising the theoretical distribution of simulated Middle Palaeolithic biogeographic and climatic values in the local area of the Upper Serpis Valley, Eastern Iberia. Our predictive model is based on the anthracological data from two local sites, Abric del Pastor (MIS 4) and El Salt (MIS 3), and the climatic data from a total of 33 current weather stations located in the study area and adjacent distances. The data suggest that the Serpis Valley was a dynamic geographic area where there may have been different biogeographical and climatic conditions, not perceptible only through charcoal analysis. These nuances may represent the presence of several biotopes in the surroundings of these two sites, where plant taxa with different temperature and humidity requirements could have grown.


El Salt Abric del Pastor Neanderthals Charcoal analysis Climate Biogeography 



This work was carried out with the financial support of a VALi+d pre-doctoral grant (ACIF/2013/260) to P. Vidal-Matutano. Archaeological research was funded under the Spanish Government projects HAR2012-32703 and HAR2015-68321-P (MICINN-FEDER/EU), Direcció General de Cultura (Conselleria d’Educació, Cultura i Esports, Generalitat Valenciana) and Museu Aqueològic Municipal Camil Visedo Moltó. P. Vidal-Matutano is funded by the Spanish Government’s Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, under the “Juan de la Cierva – Formación” program (FJCI-2017-32461) and S. Pardo-Gordó is currently granted with an APOSTD Postdoctoral grant (APOST/2019/179, Generalitat Valenciana).

Supplementary material

12520_2019_993_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 13.0 mb)
12520_2019_993_MOESM2_ESM.xls (28 kb)
ESM 2 (XLS 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TARHA Research Group, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas Palmas de Gran CanariaSpain
  2. 2.Université Côte-d’Azur CEPAM, CNRSNiceFrance
  3. 3.Departament de Prehistòria, Arqueologia i Història AntigaValenciaSpain
  4. 4.Departament de Prehistòria, GRAMPO Research Group (SGR-2017-1302)Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaCerdanyola del VallèsSpain

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