Vegetation development and human occupation in the Damascus region of southwestern Syria from the Late Pleistocene to Holocene
Deckers, K., Riehl, S., Jenkins, E., Rosen, A., Dodonov, A., Simakova, A. N. and Conard, N. J. (2009) Vegetation development and human occupation in the Damascus region of southwestern Syria from the Late Pleistocene to Holocene. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 18 (4). pp. 329-340. ISSN 0939-6314
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s00334-008-0209-z
Rockshelter Baaz in the Damascus region of Syria provided a variety of botanical remains from the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene period. These remains provide new information about the vegetation evolution in this region. The earliest occupational levels correspond with a moisture peak during the Late Pleistocene, between ca. 34-32 kyr b.p., when pine expanded. The next occupations took place during extreme arid conditions, ca. 23-21 kyr b.p., and probably during the Last Glacial Maximum when a steppe vegetation was established. The occupation level of the Younger Dryas, represented by Natufian remains, suggests that the area had been covered by almond-pistachio steppe, similar to later periods of the Early Holocene, and was probably located just outside the range of dense wild cereal stands. There is no drastic impact of the Younger Dryas visible on the vegetation in the botanical remains. The lack of fruits and seeds at Baaz indicates that the site was more likely to have been a temporary hunting post rather than a plant processing site for much of its history. It is ideally suited to this purpose because of its location over the Jaba'deen Pass and the associated springs. However, archaeological remains from the Natufian period, suggest that the site was more permanently occupied during this time.