Palaeovegetation in the Pavlovské vrchy hills region (South Moravia, Czech Republic) around 25,000 bp: the Bulhary core
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- Rybníčková, E. & Rybníček, K. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2014) 23: 719. doi:10.1007/s00334-014-0450-6
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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.