KURGANS: MARKERS OF THE HOLOCENE CLIMATE CHANGE(S)

A. Barczi, V. Nagy

The burial mounds, living mounds, guarding and border mounds (group name is “kurgan”) have been under environmental protection in Hungary since 1996. Besides the fact that they are important elements from archeological point of view, in many cases they reserve valuable remaining parts of onetime steppes, and studying of their buried soils can provide new data to learn more about the ancient environment, flora and the soil-formation processes took place long ago. In this way it can be obtained information about the Holocene climate changes. Our research team had seized the opportunity to examine several kurgans located in the Great Hungarian Plain. Two of them – the Csípő- and Lyukas-mound – has been examined in precise details through the involvement of experts of various disciplines. Due to this cooperation we could extend our researches and knowledge on the biogenic genesis of paleosoils and paleoecology concerning our kurgan studies. Therefore we utilized biomorphic analysis besides pedological investigations. Though the differences in sampling methods were significant, but the existence of a buried, ancient, undisturbed soil profile can be stated. According to morphological description of soil that was done after the kurgan’s excavation and drillings, we conclude that both the modern and paleosoils of the kurgans belong to Chernozem type soils, formed under predominantly arid steppe vegetation. Due to this fact we assume that the ancient environment of both kurgans was similar in many points with the modern landscape. Hence instead of closed forest vegetation rather loess-steppe or semi-shaded steppe can be reconstructed as the former environment of the mounds, which was mosaicly surrounded by water and salt affected areas. These results demonstrate that in the Carpathian Basin the Holocene climate changes are characterized by rather evenness, and but not the previously assumed character changes.

Keywords: mounds, markers, pedological, morphological examination

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