Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 701–718 | Cite as

Early to high medieval colonization and alluvial landscape transformation of the Labe valley (Czech Republic): evaluation of archaeological, pollen and macrofossil evidence

  • Radka Kozáková
  • Petr Pokorný
  • Jan Mařík
  • Věra Čulíková
  • Ivana Boháčová
  • Adéla Pokorná
Original Article

Abstract

In the High Middle Ages, a wave of landscape transformation which originated in western Europe swept across the east-central part of the subcontinent. In the Czech Republic, this happened during the 13th century and it had the same environmental attributes as in the rest of Europe—a considerable increase in population, vast deforestation resulting in a rapid increase in soil erosion, irreversible changes in forest species composition and overall formation of a cultural landscape. In the Czech Republic, the dynamics of such a radical change are poorly understood because it would require detailed archaeological, historical and palaeoecological insight into developments during the Early Middle Ages—a demand that is mostly not met. The aim of this paper is to fill in this gap. Archaeological and historical data from three early medieval strongholds located in central Bohemia, at Libice nad Cidlinou, Stará Boleslav and Hradišťko, are summarized and evaluated. The first two sites represent well-known political and religious centres of the early Czech state in the 10 to 11th centuries, while the last was of secondary importance. These archaeological sites have radiocarbon dated pollen and plant macrofossil evidence from oxbow sedimentary sequences which are situated in the immediate vicinity of the strongholds. The issue of fluvial transport of pollen and macrofossils is also discussed. Both pollen and macrofossil data from Hradišťko show surprisingly small impact of the stronghold on the forested alluvial environment. The vicinity of Stará Boleslav was intensively affected by human activity only during the later 11th century. It has not been possible to trace any impact of the foundation of the stronghold at Libice nad Cidlinou on the landscape. Medieval landscape change began before the 13th century in some places, as shown by the data from Stará Boleslav.

Keywords

Human impact Medieval Pollen Macrofossils Stronghold Alluvial landscapes 

Supplementary material

334_2014_447_MOESM1_ESM.xls (39 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLS 39 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radka Kozáková
    • 1
  • Petr Pokorný
    • 2
  • Jan Mařík
    • 1
  • Věra Čulíková
    • 1
  • Ivana Boháčová
    • 1
  • Adéla Pokorná
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, PraguePrague 1Czech Republic
  2. 2.Centre for Theoretical StudyCharles University in Prague and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPrague 1Czech Republic

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