Skip to main content Accessibility help

Radiocarbon-dated peat development: anthropogenic and climatic signals in a Holocene raised bog and lake profile from the Eastern part of the Carpathian Basin

  • Réka Orsolya Tapody (a1), Sándor Gulyás (a1), Tünde Törőcsik (a1) (a2), Pál Sümegi (a1) (a3), Dávid Molnár (a1), Balázs P Sümegi (a1) (a2) and Mihály Molnár (a2)...


The peat bog at Homoródszentpál Kerek-tó (Round Lake), situated in Homoród Hills of the Eastern Carpathians in Romania, provides a continuous record of paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental changes from the Early Holocene. In this study, we present a 7500-year-long high-resolution record of past climatic changes and signs of human impact recorded in a peat bog via integrating sedimentological, paleoecological and geochemical proxies. The basin of Round Lake formed around the Pleistocene–Holocene border when the permafrost thawed. Ponded water accumulated in the catchment basin from the beginning of the Holocene but ca. 7500 cal BP years ago lacustrine sedimentation was exchanged for peat accumulation. The 570-cm-long core was subsampled at 2–4 cm intervals and subjected to grain-size, loss-on-ignition (LOI), pollen, and radiocarbon (14C) analyses. Our findings were correlated with and interpreted in the light of paleobotanical records deriving from archaeological sites and the newest bioclimatological models of the nearby areas. Sedimentological analysis document erosion and accumulation events which were influenced by more complex processes like climate change. Based on environmental historical and climatic data we aimed to reconstruct the environmental changes of forested areas in the Homoródi Hills.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email:


Hide All
Aaby, B, Digerfeldt, G. 1986. Sampling techniques for lakes and bogs. In: Berglund BE, editor. Handbook of Holocene Palaeoecology and Palaeohydrology. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. p 181194.
Bennett, KD. 1992. PSIMPOLL–A quick Basic program that generates PostScript page description of pollen diagrams. INQUA Commission for the study of the Holocene: working group on data handling methods . Newsletter 8:1112.
Bennett, K.D. 2005. Documentation for Psimpoll 4.25 and Pscomb 1.03: C programs for plotting pollen diagrams and analysing pollen data. Uppsala: University of Uppsala.
Biagi, P, Spataro, M. 2005. New observations on the radiocarbon chronology of the Starčevo-Criş and Körös cultures. Prehistoric Archaeology & Anthropological Theory and Education. Reports of Prehistoric Research Projects. p 6–7.
Biagi, P, Gratuze, B, Boucetta, S. 2007. New data on the archaeological obsidians from the Banat and Transylvania (Romania). In: Biagi P, Spataro M, editors. A Short Walk through the Balkans: the First Farmers of the Carpathian Basin and Adjacent Regions. Quaderni della Società per la Preistoria e Protostoria della Regione Friuli–Venezia Giulia 12:129148.
Boghian, D, Enea, SC. 2013. The pre-Cucuteni-Cucuteni/Tripolye cultural complex between the west and the east. Revista Arheologica 9(1):3047.
Boghian, D, Enea, SC, Pîrnău, R-D, Secu, C. 2014. Elemente de Landscape Archaeology în zona siturilor Costeşti-Cier şi Giurgeşti-Dealul Mănăstirii, jud. Iaşi (Elements of landscape archaeology in the area of Costeşti-Cier and Giurgeşti-Dealul Mănăstirii, Iaşi county). In: ArheoVest II2 In honorem Gheorghe Lazarovici. Interdisciplinaritate în Arheologie. Szeged: JATE Press. p 571611.
Bolohan, N. 2010. All in one Issues of methodology, paradigms and radiocarbon datings concerning the outer eastern Carpathian area. In: Bolohan N, Florica M, Tencariu FA, editors. Signa praehistorica: studia in honorem magistri Attila László septuagesimo anno. Iasi: Alex. I. Cuza University Press. p 229245.
Bouzek, J. 1973. Archaeology of the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. Bronze Age Migrations in the Aegean. London: Duckworth.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2009. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51(1):337360.
Clark, RL. 1982. Point count estimation of charcoal in pollen preparations and thin sections in sediments. Pollen et Spores 24:523535.
Collis, J. 1984. The European Iron Age. London: Batsford.
Dean, WE. 1974. Determination of carbonate and organic matter in calcareous sediments and sedimentary rocks by loss on ignition; comparison with other methods. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 44(1):242248.
Dearing, J. 1994. Environmental Magnetic Susceptibility. Using the Bartington MS2 System. Kenilworth: Chi Publ.
Demény, A, Czuppon, G, Siklósy, Z, Leél-Őssy, S, Lin, K, Shen, CC, Gulyás, K. 2013. Mid-Holocene climate conditions and moisture source variations based on stable H, C and O isotope compositions of speleothems in Hungary. Quaternary International 293:150156.
Diaconu, AC, Tóth, M, Lamentowicz, M, Heiri, O, Kuske, E, Tanţău, I, Panait, A-M, Braun, M, Feurdean, A. 2017. How warm? How wet? Hydroclimate reconstruction of the past 7500 years in northern Carpathians, Romania. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology: in press.
Dumitrescu, V, Bolomey, A, Mogoşanu, F. 1982. The prehistory of Romania from the earliest times to 1000 B.C. In: Boardman J, Edwards IES, Hammond NGL, Sollberger E, editors. The Prehistory of the Balkans and the Middle East and the Aegean World, Tenth to Eight Centuries B.C. Cambridge University Press. p 174.
Dumitroaia, G. 2000. Comunităţi preistorice din Nord-Estul Romăniei (de la cultura Cucuteni pană in bronzul mijlociu) (Prehistoric communities from Northeast Romania from Cucuteni Culture to the Bronze Age). Piatra Neamt: Muzeul de Istorie Piatra Neamt. p 335.
Feurdean, A, Liakka, J, Vannière, B., et al. 2013. 12,000-years of fire regime drivers in the lowlands of Transylvania (Central-Eastern Europe): a data-model approach. Quaternary Science Reviews 81:4861.
Feurdean, A, Galka, M, Kuske, E, Tantau, I, Lamentowicz, M, Florescu, G, Liakka, J, Hutchinson, SM, Mulch, A, Hickler, T. 2015. Last millennium hydro-climate variability in Central–Eastern Europe (northern Carpathians, Romania). The Holocene 25:11791192.
Feurdean, A, Florescu, G, Vannière, B, Tanţău, I, O’Hara, R, Pfeiffer, M, Hutchinson, SM, Gałka, M, Moskal-del Hoyo, M, Hickler, T. 2017. Fire has been an important driver of forest dynamics in the Carpathian Mountains during the Holocene. Forest Ecology and Management 389:1526.
Hajdú-Moharos, J, Sasi, A, Erős, L. 1992. Physical geographical regionalization of Romania. Általános Földtani Szemle 26:181275.
Härke, H. 1982. Early Iron Age Hill settlement in west Central Europe: patterns and developments. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 1:187212.
Harper, TK. 2013. The effect of climatic variability on population dynamics of the Cucuteni-Tripolye cultural complex and the rise of the Western Tripolye giant settlements. Chronika 3:2846.
Hertelendi, E, Csongor, É, Záborszky, L, Molnár, I, Gál, I, Győrffy, M, Nagy, S. 1989. Counting system for high precision C-14 dating. Radiocarbon 31(3):399406.
Hertelendi, E, Kalicz, N, Raczky, P, Horváth, F, Veres, M, Svingor, É, Futó, I, Bartosiewicz, L. 1995. Re-evaluation of the Neolithic in eastern Hungary based on calibrated radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 37(2):239244.
Hertelendi, E, Sümegi, P, Szöőr, Gy. 1992. Geochronologic and paleoclimatic characterization of Quaternary sediments in the Great Hungarian Plain. Radiocarbon 34(3):833839.
Jowsey, PC. 1966. An improved peat sampler. New Phytologist 65(2):245248.
Konert, M, Vandenberghe, J. 1997. Comparison of layer grain size analysis with pipette and sieve analysis: a solution for the underestimation of the clay fraction. Sedimentology 44(3):523535.
Lazarovici, C-M. 2010. New data regarding the chronology of the Precucuteni, Cucuteni and Horodiştea-Erbiceni cultures. In: Kalábková P, Kovár B, Pavúk P, Suteková J, editors. PANTA REI. Studies in chronology and cultural development of the SE and Central Europe in Earlier Prehistory presented to Juraj Pavúk on the occasion of his 75 birthday. Studia Archaeologica et Medievalia, XI. Olomouc, Bratislava: Publishing House, Comenius University in Bratislava and Archaeological Center. p 91114.
Longman, J, Ersek, V, Veres, D, Salzmann, U. 2017. Detrital events and hydroclimate variability in the Romanian Carpathians during the mid-to-late Holocene. Quaternary Science Reviews 167:7895.
Magny, M. 2004. Holocene climate variability as reflected by mid-European lake-level fluctuations and its probable impact on prehistoric human settlements. Quaternary International 113:6579.
Magyari, EK, Chapman, JC, Passmore, DG, Allen, J. RM, Huntley, JP, Huntley, B. 2010. Holocene persistence of wooded steppe in the Great Hungarian Plain. Journal of Biogeography 37(5):915935.
Mantu, C-M. 1996. Metode de cercetare şi tehnici de datare pentru determinarea cronologiei culturii Cucuteni (Research methods and dating techniques for the Cucuteni culture chronology determination) [PhD thesis]. Iasi: Alex. I. Cuza University. 358 p. In Romanian.
Mantu, C-M. 1998. Cultura Cucuteni. Evoluţie, cronologie, legături (The Cucuteni Culture. Evolution, chronology, links). Piatra Neamt: Muzeul de Istorie Piatra Neamt. p 324.
Molnár, M, Janovics, R, Major, I, Orsovszki, J, Gönczi, R, Veres, M, Leonard, AG, Castle, SM, Lange, TE, Wacker, L, Hajdas, I, Jull, AJT. 2013. Status report of the new AMS 14C sample preparation lab of the Hertelendi Laboratory of Environmental Studies (Debrecen, Hungary). Radiocarbon 55(2):665676.
Moore, PD, Webb, JA, Collinson, ME. 1991. Pollen Analysis. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Náfrádi, K, Jakab, G, Sümegi, P, Szelepcsényi, Z, Törőcsik, T. 2013. Future climate impacts in woodland and forest steppe based on Holocene Paleoclimatic trends, paleobotanical change in central part of the Carpathian Basin (Hungary). American Journal of Plant Sciences 446147:11871203.
Oldfield, F, Thompson, R, Barber, KE. 1978. Changing atmospheric fallout of magnetic particles recorded in recent ombrotrophic peat sections. Science 199:679680.
Pécskay, Z, Edelstein, O, Seghedi Szakacs, A, Kovacs, M, Crihan, M, Bernad, A. 1995. K-Ar datings of Neogene-Quaternary calc-alkaline volcanic rocks in Romania. Acta Vulcanologica 7:5362.
Popescu, D. 1956. Gold processing in Transylvania before the Roman Conquest. In: Materiale şi Cercetări Arheologice II. p 196–250. In Romanian.
Posea, G. 2006. Geografia fizică a României. Partea I. Date generale. Poziţie geografică. Relief. Evaluare teste grilă, Ediţia a II-a. Bucureşti: Editura Fundaţiei România de Mâine. 264, p.
Reille, M. 1992. Pollen et Spores d’Europe et d’Afrique du Nord. Laboratoirede Botanique Historique et Palynologie, Marseille.
Reille, M. 1995. Pollen et Spores d’Europe et d’Afrique du Nord. Supplement 1. Marseille: Laboratoirede Botanique Historique et Palynologie.
Reille, M. 1998. Pollen et Spores d’Europe et d’Afrique du Nord. Supplement 2. Marseille: Laboratoirede Botanique Historique et Palynologie.
Reimer, PJ, Bard, E, Bayliss, A, Beck, JW, Blackwell, PG, Bronk-Ramsey, C, Buck, CE, Cheng, H, Edwards, RL, Friedrich, M, Grootes, PM, Guilderson, TP, Haflidason, H, Hajdas, I, Hatté, C, Heaton, TJ, Hogg, AG, Hughen, KA, Kaiser, KF, Kromer, B, Manning, SW, Niu, M, Reimer, RW, Richards, DA, Scott, EM, Southon, JR, Turney, CSM, van der Plicht, J. 2013. IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50000 years calBP. Radiocarbon 55(4):18691887.
Rollinson, H. 1993. Using Geochemical Data. London: Longman Press.
Ruszkiczay-Rüdiger, Z, Kern, Z. 2016. Permafrost or seasonal frost? A review of paleoclimate proxies of the last glacial cycle in the East Central European lowlands. Quaternary International 415:241252.
Schnitchen, C, Charman, DJ, Magyari, E, Braun, M, Grigorszky, J, Tóthmérész, B, Molnar, M, Szántó, Zs. 2006. Reconstructing hydrological variability from testate amoebae analysis in Carpathian peatlands. Journal of Paleolimnology 36:117.
Stockmarr, J. 1971. Tablets with spores used in absolute pollen analysis. Pollen et Spores 13:615621.
Sümegi, P, Jakab, G, Majkut, P, Törőcsik, T, Zatykó, Cs. 2009. Middle Age paleoecological and paleoclimatological reconstruction in the Carpathian Basin. Időjárás 113:265298.
Szakács, A, Seghedi, I. 1995. The Cilimani-Gurghiu-Harghita volcanic chain, East Carpathians, Romania: volcanological features. Acta Vulcanologica 7:145153.
Tapody, RO. 2016. The late Quaternary sediment-based enviromental history of a peat-bog from Transylvania [MSc thesis]. University of Szeged. p 41. In Hungarian.
Thompson, R, Battarbee, RW, O’Sullivan, PE, Oldfield, F. 1975. Magnetic susceptibility of lake sediments. Limnology and Oceanography 20(5):687698.
Tóth, M, Magyari, EK, Buczkó, K, Braun, M, Panagiotopoulos, K, Heiri, O. 2015. Chironomid-inferred Holocene temperature changes in the South Carpathians (Romania). The Holocene 25:569582.
Troels-Smith, J. 1955. Karakterisering af Lose Jordater. Danmarks Geologiske Undersogelse 4(3):173.
Vandenberghe, J, French, HM, Gorbunov, A, Marchenko, S, Velichko, AA, Jin, H, Cui, Z, Zhang, T, Wan, X. 2014. The Last Permafrost Maximum (LPM) map of the Northern Hemisphere: permafrost extent and mean annual air temperatures, 25–17 ka BP. Boreas 43(3):652666.
Váradi, PP, Lővey, L. 2000. Transylvania, Székely Land and Homoródi Hills. Veszprém: PéterPál Press. p 104.
Vasilescu, A, Constantinescu, B, Bugoi, R. 2011. Micro-SR-XRF studies of gold provenance in archaeology. Romanian Journal of Physics 56:366372.
Wells, PS. 2010. The Iron Age. In: Milisauskas S, editor. European Prehistory: a Survey (Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology). Springer. p 405464.
Willis, KJ, Sümegi, P, Braun, M, Bennett, KD, Tóth, A. 1998. Prehistoric land degradation in Hungary: Who, how and why? Antiquity 72:101113.
Wood, GD, Gabriel, AM, Lawson, JC. 1996. Chapter 3. Palynological techniques – processing and microscopy. In: Jansonius J, McGregor DC, editors. Palynology: Principles and Applications. Dallas (TX): American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists Foundation. p 1:29–50.
Zar, J. 1990. Biostatistical Analysis. New York: Englewood Cliffs.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Tapody et al. supplementary material
Tapody et al. supplementary material 1

 Unknown (792 KB)
792 KB
Supplementary materials

Tapody et al. supplementary material
Tapody et al. supplementary material 2

 Unknown (955 KB)
955 KB
Supplementary materials

Tapody et al. supplementary material
Tapody et al. supplementary material 3

 Unknown (805 KB)
805 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed