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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.

In: Late Antique Archaeology

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.

In: Environment and Society in the Long Late Antiquity

Abstract

Archaeological deposits in rock shelters have enormous informative potential, particularly in arid environments where organic materials are well preserved. In these areas, sub-fossilized coprolites and dung remains have been identified as valuable proxies for inferences about past environments, subsistence economies and cultural trajectories. Here we present a multidisciplinary analysis of bovid (ovicaprine) coprolites collected from the Early Holocene hunter-gatherer occupation at Takarkori rock shelter (SW Libya, central Sahara). Our results show that Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) were managed as early as ~9500 years cal BP, mostly with the rearing of juveniles. Palynological analysis of individual pellets suggests a seasonal confinement of the animals and the selection of fodder. GIS analysis of coprolite distribution also indicates sophisticated strategies of Barbary sheep “herding” and spatial differentiation of specialized areas within the rock shelter, including the construction and use of a stone-based enclosure for corralling animals. These highly structured and organized forms of control over wild animals are interpreted as a potential co-evolutionary trigger for the subsequent rapid adoption and integration of the incoming pastoral Neolithic economy.

In: Journal of African Archaeology