Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 December 2021
The Deliblato Sands is among the largest uniform dune fields of Europe, with a very pronounced topography reflecting extensive past aeolian events. Although lacking numerical age data, previous researchers have hypothesized various periods of dune formation. Our research goals were to map the main morphological units of the Deliblato Sands, and to provide the first optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages for the major dune types. Mapping was carried out using digital elevation models, satellite images, and GPS profiles. Dune development was investigated using OSL. Several tests were performed concerning thermal treatment, signal characteristics, dose recovery, and dose distributions to assess the suitability of sediments for luminescence dating. Based on our results, two dune generations could be identified that differed in morphology and age. Older dune forms are primarily low sand-supply, hairpin-like parabolic dunes that developed from the last glacial maximum until the end of the early Holocene, then became stabilized. Younger, superimposed parabolic dunes record an intensive aeolian signal from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The history of the Deliblato Sands fits with those from other European sand dune areas, and provides further details to understand paleoenvironmental changes in the region.