Local-scale environmental gradients in ‘snail-shell’ stable isotopes from Holocene Jordanian archaeological sites

Jenkins, Holly, Andrews, Julian, Rowan, Yorke M., Wasse, Alexander, White, Tom, Philip, Graham, Marca, Alina and Clarke, Joanne ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7954-6561 (2023) Local-scale environmental gradients in ‘snail-shell’ stable isotopes from Holocene Jordanian archaeological sites. The Holocene, 33 (3). pp. 255-266. ISSN 0959-6836

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Reconstructing environments around archaeological sites is complicated by past land management practices and regional-scale climate proxies that can be contradictory and are often located at a distance from the sites themselves. Here we explore environmental information from fossil snail shells which, even when few in number on an archaeological site, may prove invaluable in constructing site-specific data. The palaeoecology of fossil snails and the stable isotopic composition of their shell carbonate can provide context-specific information on vegetation, water availability, and relative humidity during the occupation of a site. We studied terrestrial and aquatic snails from two later Neolithic archaeological sites in the Jordanian badia, Wadi al-Qattafi and Wisad Pools. At specific archaeological site-scale our study highlights the importance of aquatic snails in the reconstruction of semi-arid environments. At Wisad pools rare aquatic snails in contexts dating between ~8.0 and ~7.6 ka demonstrate episodes of wetness; moreover, their shell isotopic compositions indicate that local watercourses were well established, corroborating previous findings that during this period the immediate environs of Wisad Pools were host to C3 plant species more typical of the Mediterranean zone. Moreover, the δ18O signal in these snail shells allow tentative reconstruction of rainwater isotopic compositions and identify the effects of evaporation. Such fine-grained environmental information is much less evident from the terrestrial snail shell data alone, showing that an ensemble of snail shell data can be highly sensitive to environmental differentials across an archaeological site. Finally, at a regional palaeoclimate-scale our Wisad Pools snail shell stable isotope data are consistent with a sustained, Rapid Climate Change (RCC)-driven wetness between 8.6 and 7.6 ka concurrent with cold and wet conditions in the wider Levant.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Art History and World Art Studies
Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 04:14
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 10:52
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/90178
DOI: 10.1177/09596836221138345

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