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Modelling dendro-anthracological parameters with dendrochronological reference datasets: interrogating the applicability of anthraco-typology to assess Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Miller) wood management from archaeological charcoal fragments

Abstract : Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Miller) is present in the palaeoenvironmental records of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean) since the Early Holocene. It is also documented in the archaeological charcoal analysis (aka anthracology) of early prehistoric sites, but it was especially exploited at certain sites during the Late Iron Age. However, different woodland exploitation strategies cannot be deciphered purely through the taxonomical identification of charcoal fragments, so it is difficult to assess if the presence of Aleppo pine in archaeological assemblages is due to specific social management strategies (branches and/or trunks exploitation). Anthraco-typological methods, based on the measurement of charcoal-pith distance (allowing original wood diameters to be inferred) and ring width, have already been proposed for temperate species (Quercus petraea/robur) as a methodology to define the woodland exploitation of past societies and human impact on forest formations. However, such an approach yet to be set up for conifers growing in Mediterranean environments. In this study we have adapted the anthraco-typological methodology to conifer wood anatomy and evaluated its applicability on the archaeological charcoal assemblages of Aleppo pine, through complete dendrological analysis of the referential material. Our research is based on the systematic measurement of two different dendro-anthracological parameters on archaeological charcoal fragments: charcoal-pith distance and ring width. The results have been compared with the information on ring width and the growing conditions of modern trees in three different forest formations in Mallorca, representing the entire environmental variability of the Aleppo pine forests on the island. Trunk cores and wood discs of different diameter were measured in order to establish criteria to distinguish between both tree organs from the archaeological charcoal fragments. Analysis of this dataset has proved that anthraco-typological methods are applicable to Mediterranean conifers and to further interrogate pinewood exploitation in prehistoric Mallorca. Additionally, we have been able to question the formation of archaeological charcoal assemblages, identify various woodland management strategies and the human impact on woodlands during prehistory.
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https://hal-mnhn.archives-ouvertes.fr/mnhn-03011926
Contributor : Alexa Dufraisse <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 12:31:11 PM
Last modification on : Monday, December 14, 2020 - 11:06:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, February 19, 2021 - 7:23:26 PM

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Picornell-Gelabert Llorenç, Alexa Dufraisse, de Luís Martín, Mus Amézquita Maurici, Carrión Marco Yolanda. Modelling dendro-anthracological parameters with dendrochronological reference datasets: interrogating the applicability of anthraco-typology to assess Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Miller) wood management from archaeological charcoal fragments. Journal of Archaeological Science, Elsevier, 2020, 124, pp.105265. ⟨10.1016/j.jas.2020.105265⟩. ⟨mnhn-03011926⟩

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