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Human forager response to abrupt climate change at 8.2 ka on the Atlantic coast of Europe.

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García-Escárzaga, Asier 
Gutiérrez-Zugasti, Igor 
Marín-Arroyo, Ana B 
Fernandes, Ricardo 
Núñez de la Fuente, Sara 


The cooling and drying associated with the so-called '8.2 ka event' have long been hypothesized as having sweeping implications for human societies in the Early Holocene, including some of the last Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Atlantic Europe. Nevertheless, detailed 'on-site' records with which the impacts of broader climate changes on human-relevant environments can be explored have been lacking. Here, we reconstruct sea surface temperatures (SST) from δ18O values measured on subfossil topshells Phorcus lineatus exploited by the Mesolithic human groups that lived at El Mazo cave (N Spain) between 9 and 7.4 ka. Bayesian modelling of 65 radiocarbon dates, in combination with this δ18O data, provide a high-resolution seasonal record of SST, revealing that colder SST during the 8.2 ka event led to changes in the availability of different shellfish species. Intensification in the exploitation of molluscs by humans indicates demographic growth in these Atlantic coastal settings which acted as refugia during this cold event.


Funder: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft; doi:

Funder: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (2)


Article, /704/106/413, /631/158/856, /631/181/27, article

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Nature Publishing Group UK
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (HAR2016-75605-R)
Hezkuntza, Hizkuntza Politika Eta Kultura Saila, Eusko Jaurlaritza (POS_2020_2_0032)
HORIZON EUROPE European Research Council (SUBSILIENCE ERC-CoG project (grant agreement No. 818299))