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  • The Early Mesolithic colonization of the northeastern Italian Alps is well known thanks to the very high number of discoveries that have been made since the 1970's. Rich evidence from the Adige valley, in particular, led to the development of the so-called “vertical nomadism model,” based on the dichotomy of valley bottom and high altitude sites. The Sauveterrian evidence of the Cansiglio plateau, being located at mid-altitude in the Venetian pre-Alps, differs from the former settlement model. Based on the data achieved from the techno-economic and traceological analyses carried out on the lithic assemblage from the Casera Lissandri 17 site, the role and function of this evidence is analysed and contextualised. In particular, raw materials indicate a relation with the Belluno valley as far as provisioning territories are concerned. In accordance with its use-wear data and overall composition dominated by microliths, the site should be considered as a seasonal camp dedicated to hunting activities and to the preliminary processing of games.
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  • In the southern Andes, Holocene climate records show drastic changes in moisture during the early and middle Holocene. To generate a more refined chronology of climate changes in this region, we present a Bayesian model that combines published cosmogenic dates from the Encierro Valley (29.1°S) and radiocarbon dates on peat and soils from the western slope of the Andes (27–33°S). We compare this to a similar model from the high-altitude archaeological site ARQ-18 in the Las Taguas Valley (29.5°S), San Juan, Argentina. These chronologies indicate synchronous changes in climate and occupational intensity, which shed light on hunter-gatherer mobility decisions. This site was first occupied in the early Holocene, when nearby valleys were deglaciated by around 10,700 cal BP. ARQ-18 was occupied a few centuries later around 10,100 cal BP. The site was first colonized during a regional wet phase, probably by hunters from the highlands to north who moved quickly among humid high-altitude valleys. As regional moisture began dropping around 8700–7800 cal BP, occupational intensity at ARQ-18 reached a maximum as diverse groups gathered in the valley. At this point, an important environmental threshold was crossed as groups reversed their mobility patterns and decisions and did not occupy the site for 1700 years. This “archaeological silence” correlates closely with the middle Holocene's hyperaridity during 7800–5700 cal BP. As soon as humidity returned, groups began visiting the site again. From this point on, strategies increasingly incorporated herding in response to less stable environmental conditions.
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  • In this paper, the combined analytical hierarchy process–fuzzy comprehensive evaluation (AHP–FCE) model was built to assess the risk for hazard installations of the Nansi Lake Basin. A detailed analysis was carried out showing the relationships between the risk index and risk factors in the Nansi Lake Basin of China. To enhance the accuracy and applicability of assessing the risk, which could be influenced by the sampled human factor, an analytical mathematic method was used to show the relationship between the statistic law and the comprehensive index. The AHP–FCE model combined AHP's capabilities of multi-object and multi-rule decision with FCE's advantages in uncertainty processing. The fuzzy treatment scheme and fuzzy operation strategy were both optimized and ameliorated, so that the model could achieve the flexibility and reliability to identify and dynamically evaluate hazard installations. In this paper, the analysis of the survey data taken from the Nansi Lake Basin, scientific theory, validity in scheme, and operating feasibility of the model were validated. It is the hope that the combined AHP–FCE model will provide valuable information pertaining to environment and hazard installation risk assessments for basin systems.
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  • As most port areas throughout the world, Guanabara Bay (GB), which hosts the Harbour of Rio de Janeiro (HRJ), is under intense environmental stress. Located in one of the most iconic places of the world, GB environmental status has been the focus of worldwide attention with the imminent 2016 Olympic Games. The aim of this study was to discuss all past and current relevant aspects to characterize the environment of GB and its main harbour, including geomorphology, climatology, hydrology, geography and biodiversity aspects. A historical view of the social and economic setting, as well as the major threats to the bay environment such as increased pollution, sedimentation, marine debris, cultural eutrophication, bioinvasions, resource utilization, climate change and habitat loss discussed. Aiming to identify–and possibly manage–the threats to biodiversity in harbour areas, a case study comparing the HRJ with the nearby Arraial do Cabo harbour was included. At last, conclusions were drawn so as to highlight effective measures to reduce the environmental degradation of the bay and the harbour.
    Data Types:
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  • Increased mobility has posed a challenge to the study of social segregation which conventionally adapts a static view in linking people's source of identity and social interaction to confined spaces of their residence. This is a paper reporting an exploratory study in the use of a mobile phone app in tracking the mobility patterns of selected sample of people in Hong Kong. It explores the impacts of mobility on whom people engage their activities with, how they interact with people in their home neighbourhood and how much likely they would in interacting with people of different socio-economic backgrounds. Patterns of mobility are very uneven among people in Hong Kong and as a city of long working hours and heavy work burden, the time people stay in their home neighbourhood and interaction with friends are in fact very limited. There are also high opportunities for them to move to neighbourhoods with a different socio-economic profile with that they live in. Yet people from poor neighbourhoods tend to move to poor neighbourhoods whilst richer people to richer neighbourhoods. Thus pole may be mobile but interaction with other income groups may be limited. At the same time, the mobile phone app that has been developed offers a very robust instrument for social research which needs to track people's movement
    Data Types:
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  • The aim of the paper is to present general characteristics of the climate in Poland during the Vistulian (Weichselian), expressed by changes of its continentality during warm and cold intervals. This last glacial stage in Poland is commonly subdivided into Early Vistulian (MIS 5d-a), Lower Plenivistulian (MIS 4), Interplenivistulian (MIS 3), and Upper Plenivistulian and Late Vistulian (MIS 2). Main climatic features of this glacial stage could be reconstructed, based on compilation from published data concerning characteristics of glacial, fluvial and aeolian sedimentary environments, geomorphology, analysis of indicator plant species, Coleoptera, and geographical distribution of periglacial structures. These data were indicative especially for evaluation of mean temperature of the warmest and the coldest months but could be also helpful in determination of drier intervals and some aspects of general atmospheric circulation. Paleoclimatic characteristics of the last glacial stage from the territory of Poland were put into the European context. During the Early Vistulian in eastern Poland, higher continentality was characteristic for interstadials (Amersfoort, Brörup and Odderade), and was considerably lower during the intervening colder stadials (Herning, a cooling between Amersfoort and Brörup, Rederstall). Among the interstadials, the most continental climate occurred during Brörup (similar continentality as at present), considerably less during Amersfoort and the least during Odderade. A decreasing trend of continentality for the cold stadials of the Early Weichselian eastwards in Europe could result from a remarkably less dynamic Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic when the ocean was covered with vast sea ice during winters, whereas the adjoining continent was occupied by permafrost, and the atmospheric circulation was presumably driven also by the Scandinavian ice sheet.
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  • During the Pleistocene, the saiga antelope, a nomadic, non-territorial, herding species, inhabited vast areas of Eurasia and North America; its distribution was at its maximum extent in the last glaciation. Now, it is restricted to a few isolated populations in Central Asia. Two main forms of saiga were recognised: Saiga borealis and S. tatarica. The former became extinct at the beginning of Holocene, the latter has survived since the Pleistocene to the present. They are regarded either as two species or as two subspecies of S. tatarica. Our comparison of skull and horn measurements of many Eurasian specimens, including literature data, revealed significant differences between these taxa. S. borealis was larger than S. tatarica in terms of some cranial measurements, whereas S. tatarica was characterised by a greater diameter of horncore base. However, the distinction involved only a few metric features and the ranges of all the analysed measurements overlapped at least partially, indicating that the two taxa may not be true species. Our analyses also showed that the skull of S. tatarica had become smaller since the Pleistocene in terms of several measurements, which was probably associated with the climate and palaeogeographical changes at the end of the last glaciation and a decrease in the population size. We found significant differences between the various geographical subgroups of S. borealis and S. tatarica only in some measurements. The observed dissimilarities between S. borealis and S. tatarica correspond most probably to subspecies level and may have resulted from a biogeographical differentiation of the saiga populations in the Pleistocene.
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  • The soil memory recorded in paleosols of loess-paleosol sequences is an important contributor to our understanding of past climatic conditions. Molecular proxies based on the organic matter preserved in paleosols form an essential part of this record, but the long-term preservation of SOM is poorly understood, especially for sediment traps and slope profiles. This paper addresses the composition of organic material from the Early Weichselian A-horizons of the Rocourt paleosol, a major paleostratigraphic marker for the Eemian and Early Weichselian in Western Europe. NaOH-extractable organic matter from an exceptionally thick Rocourt profile in the Kesselt Quarry (Belgian Loess Belt) was analyzed by pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (pyrolysis-GC/MS) and the results evaluated against paleopedological data. The molecular composition of the organic matter at Kesselt was compared with reference samples from two nearby quarries (including the type locality at Veldwezelt-Hezerwater), and to a sample from the contemporary Nussloch sequence in Germany. The SOM composition found at the four sites indicated a large content of microbial matter and was dominated by carbohydrates and N compounds, many of which were not reported before from SOM pyrolysates. Differences in the molecular composition between samples, both within profiles and between sites, coincided with differences in landscape position (slope-shoulder-plateau) and fossil redox conditions (surface gleys). Samples form drier and more upland situations contained more burnt material, while samples from slope profiles and surface gleys contained even more microbial material, in particular chitin. Results therefore suggest that the admixture of microbial SOM is considerable in loess-paleosols and that differences in edaphic conditions (in particular slope position and soil moisture) and occurrence of wildfires are important for the long-term preservation of SOM. These should therefore be considered when interpreting biogeochemical proxies.
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  • The morphology and chemical characteristics of mineral soils underlying modern peaty (histic) and shallow peat soils (or histosols) are analyzed in pedoecological conditions of Estonia. The underlying shallow peat mantle gley soils have been formed on different geological origin (glaciolacustrine, glacial, glaciofluvial, marine) parent materials. The peat mantle overlying gley soils has accumulated in the process of landscape paludification during the post glacial period. Using the Estonian Soil Classification (ESC), the peat layer thickness of peaty soils is 10–30 cm and of shallow peat soils, 30–100 cm. The studied peaty soils may be characterized as polygenetic soils. Depending on parent material properties (calcareousness, acidity, texture) and feeding water the peaty soils are divided into two types specified by ESC as peaty gley soils and peaty podzols, and by WRB as Histic Gleysols and Histic Podzols. The mineral soils underlying peat soils may be defined as paleosols. The development of such soils has proceeded according to the chronosequence: gley soils or protosols → peaty soils → fen soils → transitional bog soils → bog soils, whereas mineral paleosols may be found under fen, transitional bog and bog soils. The peat soils studied in this research work, classified by ESC as drained shallow transitional (mesotrophic) bog soils and by WRB as Drainic Dystric Ombric Hemic Fibric Histosols, are located on the edges of bog areas and are fed mostly by mesotrophic surface seepage water. In comparative analysis of three soil groups (peaty gley soils, peaty podzols and shallow peat soils) (i) their location on the landscape, the geological origin of their parent materials and morphology of the mineral layers are characterized; (ii) the vertical distribution of organic carbon and total nitrogen contents, and different characteristics of soil acidity are analyzed, and (iii) their catenal position or associated soils are characterized. In the case of peaty soils, the three types of mineral soil profiles (eluvial, eluvio-accumulative and accumulative) which underlie the peat cover were elucidated. Under thicker peat layers, i.e. under shallow peat soils, mostly humus accumulative profiles were found. In all analyzed sites, in the course of progressive paludification (among this peatification) the peaty soils have been formed from gley soils. The formation of the peaty soil stage was followed by the fen soil stage. Depending on the feeding water, some of these soils developed in the direction of bog soils, with an intermediary transitional bog stage. Artificial drainage is of great importance in the development of peat cover, which influences first the decomposition of top layer peat.
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  • Since adequate information on the distribution of biodiversity is hardly achievable, biodiversity indicators are necessary to support the management of ecosystems. These surrogates assume that either some habitat features, or the biodiversity patterns observed in a well-known taxon, can be used as a proxy of the diversity of one or more target taxa. Nevertheless, at least for certain taxa, the validity of this assumption has not yet been sufficiently demonstrated.
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