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Title: Holocene climate change, vegetation history and human impact in the Central Mediterranean : evidence from the Maltese Islands
Authors: Carroll, Francis A.
Hunt, Chris O.
Schembri, Patrick J.
Bonanno, Anthony
Keywords: Palynology -- Holocene
Palynology -- Malta
Malta -- History
Climatic changes -- Malta
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Citation: Carroll, F. A., Hunt, C. O., Schembri P. J., & Bonanno, A. (2012). Holocene climate change, vegetation history and human impact in the Central Mediterranean: evidence from the Maltese Islands. Quaternary Science Reviews, 52, 24-40.
Abstract: Holocene climates and human impact in the Mediterranean basin have received much attention, but the Maltese Islands in the Central Mediterranean, although a pivotal area, have been little researched. Here, sedimentary and palynological data are presented for three cores from the Holocene coastal and shallow-marine deposits of the Maltese Islands. These show deforestation from Pinus-Cupressaceae woodland in the early Neolithic, and then a long, but relatively stable history of agriculturally degraded environments to the present day. The major climate events which have affected the Italian and Balkan peninsulas to the north, and Tunisia to the south, are not reflected in the pollen diagrams from the Maltese Islands because of the strong anthropogenic imprint on the Maltese vegetation from early in the Neolithic. Previous suggestions of environmentally-driven agricultural collapse at the end of the Neolithic appear, however, to be substantiated and may be linked to regional aridification around 4300 cal. BP. Depopulation in early Medieval times is not supported by the current palynological evidence.
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