Holocene land-use evolution and associated soil erosion in the French Prealps inferred from Lake Paladru sediments and archaeological evidences

Abstract : A source-to-sink multi-proxy approach has been performed within Lake Paladru (492 m a.s.l., French Prealps) catchment and a six-meter long sediment sequence retrieved from the central lacustrine basin. The combination of minerogenic signal, specific organic markers of autochthonous and allochthonous supply and archaeological data allows the reconstruction of a continuous record of past human disturbances. Over the last 10000 years, the lacustrine sedimentation was dominated by autochthonous carbonates and the watershed was mostly forest-covered. However, seven phases of higher accumulation rate, soil erosion, algal productivity and landscape disturbances have been identified and dated from 8400-7900, 6000-4800, 4500-3200, 2700-2050 cal BP as well as AD 350-850, AD 1250-1850 and after AD 1970. Before 5200 cal BP, soil erosion is interpreted as resulting from climatic deterioration phases toward cooler and wetter conditions. During the Mid-Late Holocene period, erosion fluxes and landscape disturbances are always associated with prehistorical and historical human activities and amplified by climatic oscillations. Such changes in human land-used led to increasing minerogenic supply and nutrients loading that affected lacustrine trophic levels, especially during the last 1600 years. In addition, organic and molecular markers document previously unknown human settlements around Lake Paladru during the Bronze and the Iron Ages.
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Anaëlle Simonneau, Elise Doyen, Emmanuel Chapron, Laurent Millet, Boris Vannière, et al.. Holocene land-use evolution and associated soil erosion in the French Prealps inferred from Lake Paladru sediments and archaeological evidences. Journal of Archaeological Science, Elsevier, 2013, 40, pp.1636-1645. ⟨10.1016/j.jas.2012.12.002⟩. ⟨insu-00763735⟩

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