Palynology

Printer-friendly versionSend to friend

Introduction

For several years now, the extensive study of the city and region of Sagalassos has included the sciences of palynology and archaeobotany.

Palynology is a science that studies contemporary and fossil palynomorphs. In the case of the Sagalassos research, the focus is on modern and fossil pollen as well as Micro and macrocharcoal and non-pollen palynomorphs such as fungal and algal remains.

Fossil pollen is collected by drilling soil cores in sediments such as peat bogs, marine sediments or –in the case of Sagalassos- alluvial sediments deposited in a marsh. By sampling the soil core at regular intervals, it is possible to get an idea of the way the local and regional vegetation changed through time.

The research

With their research on fossil and modern pollen from the territory of Sagalassos, scientists aim to get a better understanding of the changes of the regional vegetation and the way climate, vegetation change and the human occupation of the region influenced each other.

These previous studies have revealed a strong human impact on the vegetation in SW-Turkey during the so-called Beyşehir Occupation Phase (BO Phase), which lasted from approximately 2230 to 1550 years before the present. However, little is known about the changes in vegetation patterns between the end of the BO Phase and the present. The present research will provide the first detailed palaeoecological analysis covering this period in Turkey.

The topics of my research include trying to uncover what the influence was of the various climatic periods (Little Ice Age, Medieval Climate Optimum, etc.) of the last 2000 years on the environment, on man and on man’s influence on the environment, how the human occupation of the territory changed after the disappearance of the city of Sagalassos and when the modern landscape began to develop.

The work

High resolution pollen, non-pollen palynomorph and micro- and macro-charcoal data will be collected from a large number of samples that were taken from soil cores drilled in two locations in the territory of Sagalassos; the former marsh of Bereket and Gravgaz marsh.

A large number of radiocarbon dates will enable us to create a detailed and accurate chronology for these pollen records.

The fossil and modern data will be studied by visual inspection under a microscope as well as by (multivariate) statistical analyses. The data from the cores will be compared with each other, with other high-resolution pollen data from elsewhere in Turkey and the Mediterranean and with climatic proxies such as δ18O isotope records.