Holocene vegetation change in northernmost Fennoscandia and the impact on prehistoric foragers 12 000–2000 cal. a BP – A review
While single pollen records are widely used in reconstructing the environment for nearby prehistoric settlements, they are less helpful when addressing large‐scale issues of variation in human settlement patterns. In order to assess the impact of vegetation change on regional prehistoric settlement and subsistence patterns in an ecotone sensitive area, we inferred the general change in main vegetation types based on palaeobotanical investigations from across northernmost Fennoscandia. Tundra vegetation was predominant during the Lateglacial and earliest parts of the Holocene. Maritime birch forests rich in ferns started to expand c. 11 000 cal. a BP and became dominant from 10 000 cal. a BP. Pine expanded from the NE of the investigation area and pine‐birch forest dominated in the inland around 8000 cal. a BP. A gradual degeneration of forest towards more open birch woodland started c. 6000 cal. a BP with the most marked change around 3500 cal. a BP. Along the northern outer coast, this eventually led to open heathland. Comparison with the archaeological setting suggests a general correlation between low forest cover and extensive mobility patterns, while widespread and varied forest cover appear to have led to a more sedentary way of life. The background for this is arguably that the forested landscapes hosted a larger diversity of resources within a shorter foraging distance, while areas and periods with low forest cover required longer travels to obtain the desired prey and materials.
This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Sjøgren, P., Damm, C. (2019). Holocene vegetation change in northernmost Fennoscandia and the impact on prehistoric foragers 12 000–2000 cal. a BP – A review. Boreas, 48, 20– 35, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/bor.12344. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.