The environmental history of the last 6500 years in the asea valley (Peloponnese, Greece) and its linkage to the local archaeological record

Ingmar Unkel, Arndt Schimmelmann, Christine Shrin, Jeannette Forsén, Christian Heymann, Helmut Brückner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Environmental and cultural changes and their mutual relationship or influence have long been a subject of research, in particular in the Eastern Mediterranean region with its long historical and prehistorical record. However, mainland Greece in particular faces a dearth of environmental records with a comparatively high temporal resolution near archaeological sites. Here we present a 6500 year long record of a sediment core taken in the Asea valley on the central Peloponnese, where an intensive archaeological survey has identified traces of human presence dating back to the Middle/Upper Paleolithic. Our paleo-environmental reconstruction is based on geochemical analyses of a sediment core by high-resolution XRF scanning in combination with a Bayesian age-depth-model constructed using 31 AMS-14C dates. After a long period of relatively stable climatic conditions from Late Neolithic into the Late Bronze Age between 6500 and 3500 cal BP (4550 –1550 cal BC), the Asea valley experienced a phase of more humid and potentially also cooler conditions towards the end of the Late Bronze Age until the Middle Geometric period (around 3250 – 2700 cal BP / 1300 –750 cal BC). This was followed by a relatively dry and/or warm period which had its maximum in the Hellenistic period around 2300 cal BP (300 cal BC). The lack of lake sediments and the formation of soils in the uppermost part of the Asea-1 sedimentary record limit the use of our proxies for reconstructing the environmental history for the last 2000 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-107
Number of pages19
JournalZeitschrift fur Geomorphologie
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Edward A. Schrader Archaeological Endowment Fund at Indiana University, a “Data to Insight” Research Grant from Indiana University, and from the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The fieldwork for this study was carried out under Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME) permit # 1798. We wish to thank Dr. Irene Zananiri, IGME permit representative and geophysicist, for her logistical support. Dr. Ralf Urz, Melanie Bartz, Karl Wutzer and Dimitri Fragkos provided field assistance. We thank the citizens of Asea, Kerastari and Paparis for their hospitality. The LacCore personnel is commended for outstanding analytical work. Dr. Ag-nieszka Drobniak was instrumental in creating the map. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions to improve our manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Gebrüder Borntraeger Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Asea valley
  • Geochemistry
  • Palaeoenvironment
  • Peloponnese
  • XRF

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • ASEA

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