Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Clim. Past, 12, 273-297, 2016
http://www.clim-past.net/12/273/2016/
doi:10.5194/cp-12-273-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
15 Feb 2016
7300 years of vegetation history and climate for NW Malta: a Holocene perspective
B. Gambin1,2, V. Andrieu-Ponel1, F. Médail1, N. Marriner3, O. Peyron3, V. Montade3,4, T. Gambin5, C. Morhange6,7, D. Belkacem1, and M. Djamali1 1Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie marine et continentale (IMBE), Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, IRD, Avignon Université, Bâtiment Villemin, BP 80, 13545 Aix-en-Provence CEDEX 04, France
2Institute of Earth Systems, University of Malta, Msida, MSD 2080, Malta
3Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, UM, CNRS, IRD EPHE, Avenue Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier CEDEX 05, France
4Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 4–14 rue Ferrus, 75014 Paris, France
5Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta, Msida, MSD 2080, Malta
6CEREGE, Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, BP 80, 13545 Aix-en-Provence CEDEX 04, France
7Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France
Abstract. This paper investigates the Holocene vegetation dynamics for Burmarrad in Northwest Malta and provides a pollen-based quantitative palaeoclimatic reconstruction for this centrally located Mediterranean archipelago. The pollen record from this site provides new insight into the vegetation changes from 7280 to 1730 cal BP which correspond well with other regional records. The climate reconstruction for the area also provides strong correlation with southern (below 40° N) Mediterranean sites. Our interpretation suggests an initially open landscape during the early Neolithic, surrounding a large palaeobay, developing into a dense Pistacia scrubland ca. 6700 cal BP. From about 4450 cal BP the landscape once again becomes open, coinciding with the start of the Bronze Age on the archipelago. This period is concurrent with increased climatic instability (between 4500 and 3700 cal BP) which is followed by a gradual decrease in summer moisture availability in the late Holocene. During the early Roman occupation period (1972–1730 cal BP) the landscape remains generally open with a moderate increase in Olea. This increase corresponds to archaeological evidence for olive oil production in the area, along with increases in cultivated crop taxa and associated ruderal species, as well as a rise in fire events. The Maltese archipelago provides important insight into vegetation, human impacts, and climatic changes in an island context during the Holocene.

Citation: Gambin, B., Andrieu-Ponel, V., Médail, F., Marriner, N., Peyron, O., Montade, V., Gambin, T., Morhange, C., Belkacem, D., and Djamali, M.: 7300 years of vegetation history and climate for NW Malta: a Holocene perspective, Clim. Past, 12, 273-297, doi:10.5194/cp-12-273-2016, 2016.
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Based on the study of ancient microfossils, such as pollen and spores, this paper explores climate change in a Mediterranean island context. Using a multi-disciplinary approach this original research corroborates existing archaeological and historical data. It also uses comparative data from elsewhere in the central Mediterranean to ensure that the current research is placed within the appropriate geographic context.
Based on the study of ancient microfossils, such as pollen and spores, this paper explores...
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