Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 719–728 | Cite as

Palaeovegetation in the Pavlovské vrchy hills region (South Moravia, Czech Republic) around 25,000 bp: the Bulhary core

  • Eliška Rybníčková
  • Kamil Rybníček
Original Article


This paper presents results of pollen and macroscopic analyses of a geological core from the village of Bulhary, at the north-eastern foot of the limestone Pavlovské vrchy hills, South Moravia, Czech Republic. The core reached down to about 10 m of aeolic loess layers and some 40–50 cm of compressed organogenic sediments. They accumulated around ca 25,000 years bp. The moss peat and algal gyttja we have analysed were deposited in an ox-bow of the past flood-plain of the river Dyje. The time of the sedimentation may be synchronous with the time when the northern foot of the Pavlovské vrchy hills was inhabited by upper Palaeolithic people of the Gravettian (Pavlovian) culture, dated generally to an Upper Würmian interstadial. Archaeologists excavated their settlements in the villages of Dolní Věstonice and Pavlov, neighbouring our site of Bulhary. Our analyses permit the reconstruction of the vegetation of that time in the region but may also reveal the environment and living conditions of the Palaeolithic people. In our assemblages over 200 types of palynomorphs (pollen, spores, etc.) have been found, which indicates a very rich flora and vegetation growing in at least six different biotopes of the Pavlovské vrchy hills region: (1) Open, mostly coniferous stands with grass and herbaceous cover in their undergrowth. These were probably situated in the lowest parts of the territory and could also have dominated in the broader vicinity with loess cover. (2) Grass and herbaceous steppe-like vegetation probably occupied the belt above where the trees occurred but still within the loess zone. (3) The highest elevations of the hills and their limestone cliffs formed biotopes for a complex of subalpine (alpine) communities. (4) The flood plain was certainly occupied by very diversified tall-herb vegetation with scattered alder and willow trees or shrubs. (5) Aquatic communities of the infilled stages in the river ox-bows are well documented by microscopic and macroremain finds of water macrophytes, algae and mosses. (6) The presence of scattered spring outflows and their communities is indicated by pollen of typical spring plants, e.g. Chrysosplenium, Montia, Cardamine amara etc. The vegetation, especially that in the flood-plain, produced enough plant biomass to feed numerous herds of large herbivorous mammals, which were hunted by the Palaeolithic tribes. Also the climate was probably relatively suitable for the style of living at that time. It could have been similar to that of the present northern boreal zone of NE Scandinavia and N Russia or even milder.


Czech Republic South Moravia Interstadial WII/WIII Gravettian–Pavlovian Pollen analyses Palaeovegetation Palaeoenvironment 



The authors acknowledge the participation of several colleagues, who have essentially contributed to the realization and publishing of this paper. Our thanks belong first of all to Pavel Havlíček and his team for doing for us a special core in Bulhary and giving its organogenous sediments for our purposes. Jan Valer and Zuzana Formánková assisted in data processing and construction of the pollen diagram. We also thank all referees for critical comments on the manuscript. Our son Ondřej revised the English in the first version of the article. The analytical works were supported by the Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AVOZ 60050516), additional data and compilation of the manuscript were sponsored by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (Grant No. 504/11/0429) coordinated by Michal Hájek.

Supplementary material

334_2014_450_MOESM1_ESM.doc (37 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 37 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Vegetation Ecology, Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic

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