PSU Scholars Explore Prehistoric Times

International group of palinologists, archaeologists and geographers have reconstructed the state of vegetation, climate and nature management in the central part of Perm territories over the past 8,000 years. Researchers obtained important data on the growth rates of peat bogs and the corresponding intensity of carbon accumulation. The research has been carried out by an international group of scientists from the University of Goettingen (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) and PSU. The results of the study have been published in the Boreas (journal).

“The main research method was the analysis of deposits containing pollen from different eras. The base sediment was a 3.5-meter peat core taken from the Paltinsky swamp near the township of Krasnokamsk. Separate samples were extracted from different layers of the peat column. For each of them, radiocarbon analysis made it possible to determine their age. Further, the study of pollen grains and a number of other residues provided data on the vegetation of the adjacent territory have been performed,”

Pavel Sannikov, assistant professor at the Department of Biogeocenology and Nature Conservation, PSU.

Lyudmila Shumilovskikh and Monika Schmidt, palinologists from the University of Goettingen (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) note that the main result of the study was the establishment of the dominance of different types of vegetation and their time frame. So, in the territory of Perm 8,800–6,900 years ago, pine-birch taiga prevailed, which is characteristic of the dry climate of the early Holocene. Later, in the Middle Holocene (6,900-4,000 years ago), the spread of spruce and broad-leaved species started, which serves an indication of the prevailing humid climate.

Penetration and distribution of fir at the beginning of the Late Holocene (4,000–2,300 years ago) coincides with the maximum distribution of broad-leaved species, indicating a warm climate. The decrease of broad-leaved species’ effect on forests starts 2,300 years ago, indicating the overall decrease of temperature and increasing role of human activity in the early Iron Age.

“The recently obtained data complements those previously gained archaeological assumptions about the ancient population of Prikamye, and serves their confirmation. At the same time, the new information on agriculture makes us partly re-shape our vision of the local economy structure, the Ananyinsky and Glyadeniv cultures, in particular,”

Mikhail Pereskokov, associate professor at the Department of History and Archeology, (PSU).

The publication uses a complex of palionological, archaeological and geographical data. The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (RSF, Российский научный фонд) and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). In the framework of the current RSF grant the research team continues the study on the general theme of “The Early Iron Age and the Age of the Great Migration to the Urals: adaptation, migration and cultural transformation in a changing natural environment”.