How have the societies of the past afforded climatic changes? How prolonged dryness, exceptionally cold winters, or dramatic increases in annual rainfall had been overcome by past societies? Why some societies were resilient while other vulnerable? Palaeoenvironmental studies have been trying to answer these questions but it is only applying both scientific and historical methodologies in the same project that we can fully understand the past (Izdebski et al. 2016). The Palaeo-Science and History group of the Max Planck Institute of Jena (https://www.shh.mpg.de/1056512/psh) explores the ways in which environmental sciences converges with history as a humanistic discipline that focus on the past. The project focuses on Macedonia and the Peloponnese in Greece, Sicily in Italy, and Western Turkey where evidences suggest the presence of complex societies adapted to a variety of environmental conditions. In this frame, palynology has a primary role reconstructing the past population behaviour, giving essential information on cultivation and land management. Climatic oscillation can be also inferred and contributes in the reconstruction of past events. Here we present a focus on the southern Balkans with a comparison between Lake Dojran (at the border between Greece and Republic of North Macedonia) and Lake Volvi (continental Greece) records. A pollen sequence, covering the last 12000 years with a lower resolution, is already available for Lake Dojran (Masi et al. 2018). The new data consists in the pollen, NPP and charcoal analysis at high resolution for the two lakes. The results give an interesting example of societal and environmental processes that, influencing one each other, left traces in the pollen assemblages. The period taken in consideration spans from the Roman Empire to its collapse and the establishment of Byzantium new equilibrium. Political power and socio-economic structures completely changed, but the Byzantine society was not only able to adjust successfully to dramatic changes. but also became resilient for many centuries. The pollen assemblage of the two lakes shows some similarities related to human exploitation such as the forest cover can be ascribed not only to human impact, but also to an aridification trend. Land use is evidenced by the curves of cereal and olive pollen, and also by other anthropogenic indicators. At Dojran grapevine cultivation is also assessed. The high-resolution pollen data together with the deep knowledge of the historical sources available for the region reveal all the complexity of the historical vs. environmental reconstruction of the Macedonian region, which has always been the connection point between Europe and Asia.
The Lake Dojran pollen sequence: a bridge between scientific and humanistic approach to the environmental history in the Balkans / Masi, Alessia; Masci, Lucrezia; Vignola, Cristiano; Izdebski, Adam. - (2021). ((Intervento presentato al convegno Mediterranean Palynology Societies Symposium 2021 tenutosi a Modena, Italy.