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Fluvial dynamics and phases of landscape development in the Bronze Age settlement area of the Sambek valley (northeastern hinterland of the Sea of Azov)

Dynamiques fluviales et mobilité des paysages dans la vallée du Sambek à l’âge du bronze (nord-est de la mer d’Azov)
Marlen Schlöffel, Steffen Schneider and Brigitta Schütt
p. 91-100

Abstracts

We present results of a geomorphological-sedimentological study on the Holocene evolution and the Bronze Age palaeoenvironment of a lowland river valley in the Russian northeastern Azov Sea hinterland. The study investigates the valley of the Sambek, 15 km west of the Don Delta. This area has been colonized since the Bronze Age, as settlements and burial mounds testify. The results show that in the early Holocene the valley floor was captured by a meandering river system and sedimentation was dominated by autochthonous processes in oxbow environments. From the mid-Holocene until about fifty years ago, allochthonous processes in the form of overbank deposition prevailed. After the construction of reservoirs along the river course in the 1960s, the fluvial system changed back to autochthonous depositional processes. The prehistoric changes of the fluvial dynamics do not coincide with settlement phases. We assume they were climatically induced. Since the Bronze Age, siltation has caused a 3–4 m elevation of the valley floor.

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Excerpt

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Outline

1 - Regional setting
2 - Methods
3 - Results
3.1 - Geomorphic setting and archaeological sites
3.2 - Lithostratigraphy
3.2.1 - Sediment profile 1
3.2.2 - Sediment profile 2
3.3 - Chronology
4 - Discussion
4.1 - Facies interpretation
4.2 - Geochronological model
4.3 - Phases of landscape development in the middle Sambek valley
Conclusions

First lines

The Azovian Plain is a slightly undulating steppe landscape northeast of the Black Sea, between the Donetsk Upland in the north and the Sea of Azov in the south. The region has been settled at least since late Palaeolithic times, but most of the numerous archaeological sites can be attributed to the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the period of Greek colonization, and the Middle Ages (VAN HOOF and SCHLÖFFEL, 2016; PARZINGER, 2011). The most prominent archaeological feature is the up to 6,000–year–old burial mounds (in Russian, kurgans; RASSAMAKIN, 2004). Whereas the kurgans are most often situated on widely visible ridges, the prehistoric settlements, in contrast, are mostly located in the river valleys (VAN HOOF et al., 2012a).

On a regional scale, Holocene climate and landscape changes in the steppe zone north of the Black Sea have been intensively studied (GERASIMENKO, 1997; ALEXANDROVSKI and CHICHAGOVA, 1998; KREMENETSKI et al., 1999; SPIRIDONOVA and ALESHINSKAYA, 1999; CHENDEV and IV...

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References

Electronic reference

Marlen Schlöffel, Steffen Schneider and Brigitta Schütt, « Fluvial dynamics and phases of landscape development in the Bronze Age settlement area of the Sambek valley (northeastern hinterland of the Sea of Azov) », Méditerranée [Online], 126 | 2016, Online since 01 January 2018, connection on 19 January 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/mediterranee/8265 ; DOI : 10.4000/mediterranee.8265

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About the authors

Marlen Schlöffel

Institute of Geography/Palaeoecology and Geoarchaeology, Universität Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany, marlen.schloeffel@uni-osnabrueck.de

Steffen Schneider

Institute of Geography/Palaeoecology and Geoarchaeology, Universität Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany, steffen.schneider@uni-osnabrueck.de

Brigitta Schütt

Department of Earth Sciences/Physical Geography, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, brigitta.schuett@fu-berlin.de

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