A five thousand year history of climatic and cultural change in Cappadocia

Director: Neil Roberts

Summary: As part of the BIAA’s Climate History of Anatolia research initiative, we carried out detailed studies at Nar crater lake in Cappadocia to investigate the relationship between changes in climate and the emergence of complex societies in central Anatolia during the Holocene. One of the most significant features of Nar lake is that it is depositing annually laminated - or varved - bottom muds at the present-day, which potentially provide annual dating precision for past climate changes. Following earlier lake coring programmes in 2001 and 2002, in summer 2010 we conducted a fieldwork programme which recovered longer sediment cores and extended our record back to cover the last 13,800 years, that is from the Epi-Palaeolithic period through the present-day.


Allcock, S.L. and Roberts, N. (2014) Changes in regional settlement patterns in Cappadocia (central Turkey) since the Neolithic: a combined site survey perspective. Anatolian Studies 64, 33-58. doi:10.1017/S0066154614000040

Dean, J.R., Eastwood, W.J., Roberts, N., Jones, M.D., Yiğitbaşıoğlu, H., Allcock, S.L., Woodbridge, J., Metcalfe, S.E. and Leng, M.J. (2015) Tracking the hydro-climatic signal from lake to sediment: a field study from central Turkey, J. Hydrol. 529, 608–621. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.11.004

Dean, J.R., Jones, M.D., Leng, M.J., Noble, S.R., Metcalfe, S.E., Sloane, H.J, Sahya, D., Eastwood, W.J. and Roberts, C.N. (2015) Eastern Mediterranean hydroclimate over the late glacial and Holocene, reconstructed from the sediments of Nar lake, central Turkey, using stable isotopes and carbonate mineralogy. Quaternary Science Reviews 124, 162–174. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.07.023

Dean, J.R., Jones, M.D., Leng, M.J., Sloane, H.J., Swann, G.E.A., Metcalfe, S.E., Roberts, C.N., Woodbridge, J., Eastwood, W.J. and Yiğitbaşıoğlu, H. (2013) Palaeo-seasonality of the last two millennia reconstructed from the oxygen isotope composition of diatom silica and carbonates from Nar Gölü, central Turkey. Quaternary Science Reviews 66, 35–44.

England, A., Eastwood, W.J., Roberts, C.N., Turner, R. and Haldon, J.F. 2008 Historical landscape change in Cappadocia (central Turkey): a palaeoecological investigation of annually-laminated sediments from Nar lake. The Holocene 18, 1229-1245. DOI: 10.1177/0959683608096598

Haldon, J., Roberts, N., Izdebski, A., Fleitmann, D., McCormick, M., Cassis, M., Doonan, O., Eastwood, W., Elton, H., Ladstätter, S., Manning, S., Newhard, J., Nichol, K., Telelis, I. and Xoplaki, E. (2014) The climate and environment of Byzantine Anatolia: integrating science, history and archaeology. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 45, 2; 113-161. doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00682 Jones, M.D.,

Roberts, N., Leng, M.J. and Türkeş, M. 2006 A high-resolution late Holocene lake isotope record from Turkey and links to North Atlantic and monsoon climate. Geology 34 (5), 361-364. DOI: 10.1130/G22407.1

Roberts, N., Allcock, S.L., Arnaud, F., Dean, J.R., Eastwood, W.J., Jones, M.D., Leng, M.J., Metcalfe, S.E., Malet, E., Woodbridge, J. and Yiğitbaşıoğlu, H. (2016, in press) A tale of two lakes: a multi-proxy comparison of Late Glacial and Holocene environmental change in Cappadocia, Turkey. Journal of Quaternary Science DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2852

Turner, R., Roberts, N. and Jones, M.D. 2008 Climatic pacing of Mediterranean fire histories from lake sedimentary microcharcoal. Global and Planetary Change 63, 317-324. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.07.002; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.07.002

Woodbridge, J. and Roberts, N. (2010) Linking neo and palaeolimnology: a case study using crater lake diatoms from central Turkey. Journal of Paleolimnology 44, 855-871. DOI 10.1007/s10933-010-9458-9

Woodbridge, J. and Roberts, N. (2011) Late Holocene climate of the Eastern Mediterranean inferred from diatom analysis of annually-laminated lake sediments. Quaternary Science Reviews. 30 (23–24), 3381-3392. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.08.013

Woodbridge, J., Roberts, N. and Cox, E.J. (2010) Morphology and ecology of a new centric diatom from Cappadocia (central Turkey). Diatom Research 25, 195-212.

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Archaeology and Related Disciplines

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