Eurasian Soil Science

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 115–126 | Cite as

Paleosol and paleoenvironmental conditions in the Lower Volga steppes during the Golden Horde period (13th–14th centuries AD)

  • V. A. Demkin
  • A. S. Yakimov
  • A. O. Alekseev
  • N. N. Kashirskaya
  • M. V. El’tsov
Genesis and Geography of Soils


Paleosols buried under steppe kurgans of the Golden Horde period (13th–14th centuries AD) in the Lower Volga basin are characterized by an increased humus content, lower salinity and gypsum content, and higher magnetic susceptibility of the soil material in comparison with the paleosols buried in the preceding period and the background surface soils. A comparative analysis of the morphological, chemical, and magnetic properties of the buried and surface soils allows us to conclude that an increase in climatic humidity within this dry region took place in the period of the high Middle Ages, with a peak in the 13th–14th centuries AD. The climatic change was manifested in the soil evolution at the taxonomic levels of soil genera and soil subtypes (in the ecotone zones). On the basis of measured magnetic susceptibility values, the mean annual precipitation levels in the Golden Horde period have been reconstructed. According to our estimates, the mean annual precipitation in the Lower Volga basin in that time was 30–80 mm higher than at present. The favorable paleoenvironmental and paleosol conditions of the Golden Horde period were important factors that affected the ethnic and political situation in the Lower Volga region.


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. A. Demkin
    • 1
  • A. S. Yakimov
    • 1
  • A. O. Alekseev
    • 1
  • N. N. Kashirskaya
    • 1
  • M. V. El’tsov
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems of Soil ScienceRussian Academy of SciencesPushchino, Moscow oblastRussia

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