Climatic and Environmental History of the Balkans During the Last Glacial Cycle

Principal Investigators: F. Schäbitz, M. Staubwasser

After leaving the Near East, some groups of Homo sapiens sapiens first arrived about (uncalibrated) 30-32 ka BP ago in the Balkans, as it is proven by human remains found in Romania. However, until now, due to the limitations of the anthropological data, only a patchy reconstruction of the routes into Europe was possible. The environmental context which enabled the first groups of Homo sapiens sapiens to enter Europe is still widely unknown and the detailed framework of climatic and environmental conditions still requires extensive research.

Thus, the overall objective of project B2 is to reconstruct the environmental history of the Balkan region during the last Glacial-Interglacial cycle on a sub-millennial time scale. For this purpose, long (>10 m) sediment records from the transboundary lakes Prespa (MK/AL/GR) and Dojran (MK/GR) will be recovered and investigated using a multidisciplinary approach. Both lakes are located in the main tree refugial areas of important central European forest species during the glacial. Hence, plant microfossil analyses and sedimentological and other micropalaeontological investigations on a submillennial scale in sediment sequences from these lakes will offer the opportunity to reconstruct even short time climate changes. Furthermore, pollen and ostracods offer the possibility to develop transfer functions in order to reconstruct quantitative changes in regional climate and hydrological conditions of the lakes. The results, in concert with those from other lake projects of the CRC, promise to add fundamentally to the understanding of the environmental conditions along the eastern pathway of human migration from Africa to Central Europe.

1st Phase - Research Programme 1st Phase - Results
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RWTH Aachen University

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