Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 383–402 | Cite as

Palynological investigations at the Late Bronze–Early Iron Age lakeshore settlement of Luokesa 1 (Moletai District, Lithuania): a contribution to the Middle-Late Holocene vegetation history of the south-eastern Baltic regions

  • Annekäthi Heitz-Weniger
Original Article


Today, the settlement site of Luokesa 1 (L1) lies under water at the northern edge of Lake Luokesa in the Baltic Uplands, south-eastern Lithuania. Its 60 cm-thick Late Bronze–Early Iron Age cultural layer lies on top of lake marl. During excavations in 2008 and 2009, core samples at L1 were taken for the purpose of multidisciplinary investigations. From this material, five on-site pollen diagrams were created in parallel with geo-archaeological investigations and the examination of the botanical macro-remains. Two of these cores mainly comprised the cultural layer, another two consisted largely of the underlying lake marl and the fifth contained primarily the transition from the lake marl to the cultural layer. The chronological sequence was established through 11 AMS dates. The woodland history, starting from the Late Atlantic period, was recorded. The Quercetum mixtum values are quite low in the Subboreal, with the coniferous forest consisting mainly of Pinus and, though significantly less, Picea. At the transition to the cultural layer (Subatlantic) the pollen curves are highly variable, showing peaks in the curves for Betula and Alnus. Pollen from aquatic plants is also present. Changes in riparian vegetation and turbulent sedimentation conditions are to be expected and can be explained by a drop in the water level. As L1 was located on damp ground at that time, water influxes alternating with dry episodes were observed. In the area around L1 the sedge belt was less pronounced, and riparian woodland extended all the way to the shores of the lake. Pollen analyses of four sheep/goat dung samples provide information on the grazing season and pasture location of these domestic animals. The paper also discusses layer formation processes such as water level fluctuations and hiatuses.


Pollen On-site investigation Lake level fluctuation Cultural layer Riparian woodland Human impact 



I thank Lucia Wick for her valuable assistance in determining pollen types as well as for drawing the diagrams. I am also indebted to Willy Tinner, who enabled the chemical processing by Florencia Oberli of the samples in the laboratory of the University of Bern. For stimulating exchange and discussions, I thank Kristin Ismail-Meyer, Britta Pollmann, Elena Pranckėnaitė and Niels Bleicher. Many thanks go to the project managers, Stefanie Jacomet, who contributed many ideas, and Francesco Menotti, who initiated the project. The support of the Swiss National Science Foundation who financed the project ‘Understanding human occupation in later prehistoric Europe’ (K-13k1-117893) is gratefully acknowledged. For translation into English I thank Patrick Stäuble and Madeleine Hummler.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrative Prehistory and Archaeological Science, Department of Environmental SciencesBasel UniversityBaselSwitzerland

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