Late Pleistocene palynological sequence from Ohalo II, Sea of Galilee, Israel

Mina Weinstein-Evron, Dafna Langgut, Silvia Chaim, Alexander Tsatskin, Dani Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A new high-resolution palynological record from the Sea of Galilee (Israel), roughly spanning the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) obtained from a trench dug in the vicinity of the well-dated prehistoric site of Ohalo II (23-24 ka cal. BP) - combined with detailed litho-stratigraphic and magnetic susceptibility analyses - provides evidence of vegetation, lake levels and climate change in the northern Jordan Valley. The sequence begins with laminated marls of the last Lake Lisan high stand and ends with the near-shore deposits containing the prehistoric site. Palynologically, the early phase of the high stand (pollen zone 1) is characterised by high-AP (mainly Quercus ithaburensis), reflecting a relatively humid climate. During its later part (zone 2), the increase in Artemisia indicates a regional drying. Several fluctuations in lake levels and humidity are recorded (pollen zones 3-4) prior to human occupation at the prehistoric camp, during a renewed humid climate (pollen zone 5); in its early phase Quercus calliprinos spread again in the mountainous areas around the lake, while the maquis of the later phase was typified by the deciduous Q. ithaburensis. The fact that a variety of data sets were retrieved from the very same section renders their correlation and combined environmental interpretation reliable and unique for this time period in the southern Levant. The reconstructed palaeoenvironmental picture indicates a rather mild LGM in the northern Jordan Rift. Although there are 17 14C and U-Th dates from the studied section, dating inconsistencies prevent direct correlations between the observed regional fluctuations and global events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-231
Number of pages13
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of South Africa
Volume70
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Jordan Valley
  • LGM
  • Palaeoclimates
  • Palynological analysis
  • Southern Levant

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