Occupation and land-use history of a medium mountain from the Mid-Holocene: A multidisciplinary study performed in the South Cantal (French Massif Central)

Frédéric SURMELY, Yannick MIRAS, Pascal GUENET, Violaine NICOLAS, Aurélie SAVIGNAT, Boris VANNIÈRE, Anne-Véronique WALTER-SIMONNET, Gabriel SERVERA & Stéfan TZORTZIS

en - Pages 737-748

Published on 31 December 2009

A multidisciplinary investigation combining archaeological and palaeoecological approaches (pollen, micro-charcoal, major elements geochemistry, and radiocarbon data) has been carried out since 2000 in the southern Cantal (French Massif Central) in order to achieve a better understanding of the environmental/anthropogenic interactions in a mountain ecosystem ranging from 1000 to 1600 m a.s.l. from the Mid-Holocene to the end of Modern Times. This medium mountain area must be considered as a complex landscape shaped during a long-term land-use history. Pollen and archaeological evidences suggest a human frequentation as early as the beginning of the 6th millennium BC. For the following periods, different stages related to the human settlement and anthropogenic activities of land clearance and agro-pastoralism have been documented: the final Neolithic/Early Bronze Age and the Roman period (mainly the 3rd and 4th centuries AD). Middle Ages (between the 10th and the 12th centuries AD) and Modern Times (since the 14th–16th centuries AD) appear to be two key phases revealing complex spatial patterns of land-use.


Massif Central, Cantal, Mountain, Neolithic, Middle Ages, Modern Times, Palaeoecology, France

Download full article in PDF format Order a reprint