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La Alta Montaña Pirenaica: Génesis y Configuración Holocena de Un Paisaje Cultural : Estudio Paleoambiental En el Valle del Madriu-Perafita-Claror (Andorra)

Ana Ejarque Montolio
Oxford : Archaeopress, 2013.
BAR international series
9781407311258, 1407311255
Previous research acknowledges the ancient and complex land-use history of European mountainous areas, which are characterized by a remarkable regional variability in terms of human practices and patterns of occupation during the Holocene. However, the combined palaeonenvironmental and archaeological study of highland human management a microregional scale remains a largely unexplored research field especially in the Pyrenees. This research was performed as a part of an integrated palaeonenvironmental and archaeological program which aims to understand the long-term shaping of the Madri-Perafita-Claror valley (MPCV, Androrra), a highland area included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a cultural landscape. Main objectives of this study are, firstly, to reconstruct, human management and landscape shaping of high altitudinal Pyrenean spaces along the Holocene assessing those environmental and/or human factors involved, and secondly, to reconstruct microregional land-use and landscape variability in the shaping of highland spaces. To accomplish these objectives a multi-profile palaeoenvironmental study which combines pollen with other biological proxies providing more local information such as stomata, non-pollen palynomorphs (NPPs), and macrocharcoal charred particles was carried out in the upper subalpine and alpine belts of the MPCV. Four nearby small peat and lake basins were studied at different altitudes and landscape settings of the main Madriu valley. Palaeoenvironmental results were afterwards compared with those obtained in two nearby sequences also located at the Madriu and the Perafita valley. This would allow detecting small-scale land-use variability at both intra-valley (within the Madriu valley) and inter-valley (between the Madriu and Perafita valleys) scales. In order to calibrate and to interpret fossil palaeoenvironmental datasets in terms of vegetation and land use, a study of modern pollen and NPP assemblages was also carried out. Palaeoecological results were further integrated with archaeological on-site data. Total coverage extensive survey and site excavation showed more than 400 archaeological sites in the VMPC ranging from the early Neolithic to the modern era. The integration of palaeoenvironmental and archaeological data was achieved by employing fine-resolution reliable chronological parameters. Accurate palaeoecological chronologies were obtained through the combined use of 41 AMS radiocarbon dates and additional dating techniques for the recent period. This included fallout radionuclides measurements-i.e. ²¹⁰Pb, ¹³⁷Cs- and the quantification for Spheroidal Carbonaceous Particles. Besides, fine-resolution palaeoenvironmental analyses were conducted in most sequences during key periods in order to both precisely define human activity and to allow the crosschecking of palaeecological and archaeological data. Results drawn from this study stress the existence of different phases of microregional land-use and landscape variability at both intra-valley and inter-valley scales from the early Neolithic to the Modern era. Such landscape variability was not merely connected to topographic or climatic parameters but rather responded to the spatial organisation and fragmentation of land-uses and the complementary human exploitation of mountain resources. This underlines the role of social, economical and cultural parameters int he landscape shaping of highland spaces since prehistory. Besides, this study depicts highlands as cultural landscapes resulting from the long-term interaction of a diversified rage of land-uses, including grazing but also resin exploitation, charcoal production and mining and smelting activities. The study of Naps, and macrocharcoal has aided in both confirming the local nature of pollen disturbances and characterising the nature of some anthropogenic impacts developed within the watersheds, particularly those ones involving woodland clearance, grazing practices and fire disturbances. Equally, archaeological data has proved to be a priceless tool when assessing local human occupation and the distinctive nature of highland land-use practices. This combination of palaeoenvironmental and archaeological proxies has thus helped to overcome some interpretations of upland pollen assemblages and has provided meaningful insights into the scale and nature of highland land-uses. This research demonstrates the highland fens and lakes prone to display local landscape patchiness along time and thus constitute valuable palaeoenvironmental records for the analysis of small-scale land-use if fine spatial resolution pollen analyses are conducted. Finally, results obtained point to combined palaeoenvironmental multiproxy records and archaeological studies following a fine-spatial resolution at a microregional scale as the most suitable research strategy for the study of human mountain management and landscape change during the Holocene.
  • 1. Introducción y objetivos
  • 2. El medio fisico
  • 3. Contexto histórico y resultados arqueológicos
  • 4. Calibración de la señal polínica
  • 5. Material y métodos: estudio paleoambiental de secuencias fósiles
  • 6. Resultados
  • 7. Discusión
  • 8. Conclusión: dinámicas paisajísticas de alta montaña y variabilidad microregional en el modelado cultural del valle del Madriu-Perafita-Claro durante el holoceno.
ii, 192 pages : illustrations (some color and folded), maps (some color) : 30 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 172-192).
Series Statement
BAR international series ; 2507
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