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Journal Article

Human forager response to abrupt climate change at 8.2 ka on the Atlantic coast of Europe

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García-Escárzaga,  Asier
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Fernandes,  Ricardo
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Roberts,  Patrick
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

García-Escárzaga, A., Gutiérrez-Zugasti, I., Marín-Arroyo, A. B., Fernandes, R., Núñez de la Fuente, S., Cuenca-Solana, D., et al. (2022). Human forager response to abrupt climate change at 8.2 ka on the Atlantic coast of Europe. Scientific Reports, 12(1): 6481. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-10135-w.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-5D4C-A
Abstract
The cooling and drying associated with the so-called ‘8.2 ka event’ have long been hypothesized as having sweeping implications for human societies in the Early Holocene, including some of the last Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Atlantic Europe. Nevertheless, detailed ‘on-site’ records with which the impacts of broader climate changes on human-relevant environments can be explored have been lacking. Here, we reconstruct sea surface temperatures (SST) from δ18O values measured on subfossil topshells Phorcus lineatus exploited by the Mesolithic human groups that lived at El Mazo cave (N Spain) between 9 and 7.4 ka. Bayesian modelling of 65 radiocarbon dates, in combination with this δ18O data, provide a high-resolution seasonal record of SST, revealing that colder SST during the 8.2 ka event led to changes in the availability of different shellfish species. Intensification in the exploitation of molluscs by humans indicates demographic growth in these Atlantic coastal settings which acted as refugia during this cold event.