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Volume-editor Adam Izdebski and Michael Mulryan

Volume-editor Adam Izdebski and Michael Mulryan

Merle Eisenberg, David J. Patterson, Jamie Kreiner, Ellen F. Arnold and Timothy P. Newfield

Katerina Kouli, Alessia Masi, Anna Maria Mercuri, Assunta Florenzano and Laura Sadori

Abstract

Vegetation patterns during the 1st millennium AD in the central Mediterranean, exhibit a great variability, due to the richness of these habitats and the continuous shaping of the environment by human societies. Variations in land use, witnessed in the pollen record, reflect the role that local vegetation and environmental conditions played in the choices made by local societies. The interdisciplinary study of off-site cores remains the key evidence for palaeoenvironmental transformations mirroring the ‘semi-natural’ vegetation, and revealing temporal fluctuations and the amount of human impact on a regional scale.

Volume-editor Adam Izdebski and Michael Mulryan

Neil Roberts

Abstract

The latter part of the Beyşehir Occupation Phase (BOP) corresponds in space and time to the Late Roman empire in the eastern Mediterranean. The emphasis on tree crops in pollen records, particularly olive trees, implies long-term investment, stable trade networks and regional economic integration. The onset of the BOP was time-transgressive, starting between the Bronze Age and Hellenistic times in different localities. During the mid 1st millennium AD, the BOP came to an end, often abruptly, with a marked decline in agricultural indicators and an increase in forests, implying partial landscape re-wilding. This termination is most commonly dated to the 7th c. AD, coinciding with Arab attacks on Byzantine territory, and this, rather than climate change, seems the most likely explanation for the regional collapse of the rural agrarian system. The end of the BOP marks the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Medieval era, a transition which appears to have been notably later in date and more dramatic than elsewhere in the Mediterranean.