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Department of Archaeology

Monday, 24 January, 2022 - 16:00 to 17:00
Event speaker: 
Anastasia Nikulina, Leiden University

The extent and forms of past hunter-gatherer impact on landscapes are still debated. Nevertheless, it is crucial to assess foragers' transformation of their sorroundings, not only because this process constitutes a starting point of anthropogenic environmental changes but also because it might be relevant for baseline studies, where "natural" environments are comparative material. Thus far, similar possible roles of Neanderthals and Mesolithic humans in landscape transformations were revealed by identifying comparable palaeoenvironmental and archaeological proxies for each population. However, based on such long-established methods it is currently difficult to identify hunter-gatherer impact on landscapes played out at a local level only versus at a larger scale during the Last Interglacial and Early-Middle Holocene. That is why the planned agent-based model will be applied to assess hunter-gatherer impact on past European landscapes. The simulation will incorporate different spatial datasets with climate-based vegetation reconstructions and herbivore plant consumption. These datasets will be used to create a "natural" environment (before anthropogenic transformation). Afterwards, the modelling output will be validated via pollen-based vegetation reconstruction. Expected results include maps of modified landscapes and possible estimations of the extend of anthropogenic impact on sorroundings.

The research is financed through the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme within the TERRANOVA project, No 813904 and supported by the Liveable Planet program of Leiden University.

Learn more about Anastasia Nikulina here.

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