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Local vegetation patterns of a Neolithic environment at the site of Tianluoshan, China, based on coprolite analysis

Article

Zhang, YN; van Geel, B; Gosling, WD; McMichael, CNH; Jansen, B; Absalah, S; Sun, GP; Wu, XH

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2019

REVIEW OF PALAEOBOTANY AND PALYNOLOGY

271

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In contrast to conventional pollen records from natural sediments, pollen spectra from animal dung are less susceptible to long-distance wind and water transport and therefore have been used as indicators of local and regional vegetation, providing an opportunity to examine micro-environmental patterns relating to human impacts, espedally when associated with archaeological evidence. Eight-two coprolites, preserved through waterlogging, from the Chinese Neolithic site of Tianluoshan in the Lower Yangtze were analyzed for pollen, spores and biomarkers. Sterol compounds provide evidence that most excrements originated from dogs. Based on detrended correspondence analysis of the pollen data, three main vegetation types can be seen to be represented: subtropical secondary forests (arboreal and herb pollen), local bush areas (entomophilous shrub and liana pollen) and wetlands (Cerealia-type and Typha pollen). Thirty-one previously undescribed non-pollen palynomorphs were recorded and compared to possible existing types and taxa. NPP assemblages were tentatively explained based on four environmental variables and further characterize the local regimes in the context of human modification. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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