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MoG Geoscience vol. 30 1993             Order this book on-line

Jens Böcher and Bent Fredskild
Plant and arthropod remains from the palaeo-Eskimo site on Qeqertasussuk, West Greenland.
35 pp., 23 figs. 110 DKK


Samples from the excavation of a palaeo-Eskimo site, settled ca. 3900-3100 14C yrs BP on a raised beach, were analyzed for pollen and botanical and entomological macro-remains.
In the dwelling area the original vegetation of grasses and Saxifraga spp. was covered by thick culture layers; under the midden Elymus mollis formed the original vegetation. During short uninhabited periods different grasses dominated. Following the termination of the habitation a mossy heath spread over the areas.
The sediments contained abundant well-preserved fragments of insects and other arthropods. Besides oribatid mites, spiders and fly puparia, remains of beetles are predominat. Micralymma brevilingue plays a prominent role, but also Simplocaria metallica, Byrrhus fasciatus and the heteropteron Nysius groenlandicus are fairly numerous. A former warm period is indicated by the finds of species at or well north of their present northern limit.
The succession of arthropid assemblages agrees with the palaeobotanical and archaeological evidences. The fauna indicates the transition from typical arctic conditions: few species and low density, to stages with much higher diversity and density following fertilization, but also to stages of inferior conditions for plants and insects as a result of intensive human activity.
A lake pollen diagram shows that after a short pioneer zone first Salix glauca, the ca. 6400 14C yrs. BP. Betula nana immigrates. Shortly before 3000 BP more cool/humid conditions are indicated in accordance with the general trend in the Holocene climatic development of West Greenland, which is briefly discussed and summarized.