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Chapter Six what was the environment and what did they eat.docx

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Queen's University
Classical Studies
CLST 129

Chapter Six: what was the environment and what did they eat April-22-13 9:59 AM  Reconstructing the environment on a global scale o Evidence from sea and ice cores: analysis of isotopic ratios within dateable layers of ocean sediment and ice can give an accurate idea of climate. Studies from al over the world are all in broad agreement about what global climate was like over the past few million years o Evidence from tree-rings: similar analysis of tree rings gives a finer-scale idea of what the environment was like in different areas up to about 10,000 years ago Reconstructing the plant environment  Microbotanical remains o Pollen: most useful for the study of minor fluctuations in climate over the last 12,000 years, although pollen can be preserved for millions of years in some contexts o Phytoliths: survive very well in most archaeological sediments and can add to the picture of the environment built up from other sources o Diatoms: found in lake and shore sediments and thus useful for the analysis of past marine environments  Macrobotanical remains o Seeds and fruits: can usually be identified to species, but interpretations can be difficult since they can be brought in to a site from else where o Plant residues: can give some idea of what species were available o Wood: charcoal survives well in he archaeological record and can be identified to species, but what is found tends to reflect human selection of wood rather then the full range of species growing around a site  Reconstructing the animal environment o Microfauna are better indicators of climate and environmental change then macrofauna because they are much more sensitive to small variations in climate and adapt to them relatively quickly o Microfauna tend to
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