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Human activity and the environment during the Late Iron Age and Middle Ages at the Impiltis archaeological site, NW Lithuania
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
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2009 (English)In: Quaternary International, ISSN 1040-6182, Vol. 203, 74-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research carried out at the Impiltis hill fort and settlement area in NW Lithuania indicates the occurrence of environmental changes caused by climatic alterations and human impact during the Late Iron Age and the Middle Ages. Both the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data confirm that intensive human activity began in the area shortly before 900 AD, generally coinciding with the onset of the “Medieval Warm Period”. The first appearance of rye (Secale cereale) and flax (Linum usitatissimum) pollen grains is the earliest in the region, which indicates the development of permanent agriculture using some field rotation system. Increasing pressure on the environment is seen in the reconstruction of the hill fort, the development of an agricultural system, and the introduction of new cultivated plants. According to the palaeoenvironmental data, farming persisted as the main activity of the Impiltis population during the period of prosperity dated back to about 1050–1260 AD. Afterwards, Impiltis existed as a typical agrarian settlement which may have been positively influenced by the mild climatic conditions of the “Medieval Warm Period”. A clearly marked regression of human activity coincides with the destruction of the Impiltis castle and settlement during the German Order conquest in 1263 AD. The subsequent resurgence of human activity in the area was influenced by the ensuing climatic deterioration known as the “Little Ice Age”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Ltd , 2009. Vol. 203, 74-90 p.
Keyword [en]
human activity, late iron age, middle ages, Lithuania
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Research subject
Archaeology; Quarternary Geology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32358DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2008.04.018ISI: 000268422900008OAI: diva2:280105
Available from: 2009-12-21 Created: 2009-12-08 Last updated: 2010-01-21Bibliographically approved

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