This volume presents a review and evaluation of the palynological examination of Near and Eastern sediment cores covering the last 30,000 years, eith the aim of reconstructing the Late Quaternary vegetational history. The pollen evidence is supplemented by archaeobotanical data.As the vegetation of earlier times cannot be understood without knowledge of the modern vegetation in relation to environmental conditions, a synopsis of the topography, climate and (potential) natural vegetation is presented. Surface-sample studies inform us as a prerequisite for the interpretation of fossil pollen spectra in terms of vegetations of the past.A major part of the book is devoted to the discussion of the regional vegetation histories. For each ofthe regions the evidence, usually in the form of abridged pollen diagrams, is presented. Palaeo-vegetation maps prepared for the Northwest Zagros Mountains, Southwestern Anatolia, Northwestern Anatolia and the Southern Levant illustrate the interpretation of the pollen data. The regional maps are of considerable use in the study of prehistoric settlement patterns. In addition, generalized palaeo-vegetation maps for the whole of the Near East, so far as covered by pollen cores, are presented.In a final chapter the interference of ancient man with the vegetation, as documented in the pollen record, is discussed. In spite of the evidence for large-scale forest clearences, most of the potential forest and woodland areas remained predominantly wooded probably until only a few centuries ago.The book is of interest to archaeologists, botanists, palynologists, climatologists, geomorphologists and geographers.
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