Introduction

  • Günther A. Wagner
Part of the Natural Science in Archaeology book series (ARCHAEOLOGY)

Abstract

The Quaternary, which covers approximately the last 2 million years, represents a particular period in the Earth’s history. It is characterized by dramatic environmental changes. Cold and warm periods repeatedly alternated. Enormous ice masses which covered vast regions of the northern continents melted off and recurred. Which factors caused these tremendous climatic changes? Early Man entered this scenario. Was his evolution somehow triggered by the severe environmental stresses or not? In the course of the warm period lasting 11,500 years, in which we are living, highly advanced civilizations eventually developed. Does the reconstruction of the paleoenvironment allow the prediction of future climatic and ecological developments? Sound answers to these questions depend not least on the degree to which chronometry succeeds in resolving the processes of the past. Considerable progress has been achieved therein, especially during recent years.

Keywords

Zircon Europe Uranium Radium Holocene 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günther A. Wagner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ArchaeometryMax Planck Institute of Nuclear PhysicsHeidelbergGermany

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