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The expansion of Central and Northern European Neolithic populations was associated with a multi-century warm winter and wetter climate

Abstract : It is still debated whether climate changes had an impact on the emergence, spread, and disappearance of early production-based (Neolithic) adaptations. To date, and despite the incorporation of various paleoclimatic proxies, there exists no spatial reconstruction of the regional impact of the North Atlantic cooling events on Central-Western European climate and environments during the early Holocene. In order to address these two issues, we estimated seasonal and annual temperature and precipitation from a marine pollen record from Trondheimsfjord (central Norway) along with 68 pollen records distributed across Central-Western Europe for the time period associated with the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) cultural tradition, 7600-6900 yr cal. BP. Two distinct vegetation-derived rapid, <100 years, climate changes, contemporaneous with reduced warm Atlantic water (AW) inflow and winter storminess in the northern North Atlantic, bracket the expansion of the LBK. The geographic expansion of LBK populations appears to coincide with winter warming by ca. 2.5 degrees C on average, and an increase in summer and winter precipitation, while its decline is associated with decreases in winter temperature, by similar to 1.5 degrees C on average, and summer rainfall. Our results confirm that LBK subsistence practices were well-adapted to wet and relatively warm winters and cool summers, which are favorable to some cultigens, such as einkorn. This is in contrast to the hypothesis that cooler and wetter climatic conditions would induce increased instability of agricultural communities leading to the decline of LBK populations.
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https://hal-univ-rennes1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01395328
Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 4:17:11 PM
Last modification on : Friday, September 18, 2020 - 2:34:47 PM

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Maria Fernanda Sanchez Goni, Elena Ortu, William E. Banks, Jacques Giraudeau, Chantal Leroyer, et al.. The expansion of Central and Northern European Neolithic populations was associated with a multi-century warm winter and wetter climate. The holocene, London: Sage, 2016, 26 (8), pp.1188--1199. ⟨10.1177/0959683616638435⟩. ⟨hal-01395328⟩

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