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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-47
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-47
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  07 May 2020

07 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

A 4000-year long Late Holocene climate record from Hermes Cave (Peloponnese, Greece)

Tobias Kluge1,2,3, Tatjana S. Münster1, Norbert Frank1, Elisabeth Eiche3, Regina Mertz-Kraus4, Denis Scholz4, Martin Finné5, and Ingmar Unkel6 Tobias Kluge et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics, Heidelberg University, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics, Heidelberg University, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 3Institute of Applied Geosciences, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 4Institute of Geosciences, Johannes Gutenberg University, 55128 Mainz, Germany
  • 5Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, 75126 Uppsala, Sweden
  • 6Institute for Ecosystem Research, Kiel University, 24118 Kiel, Germany

Abstract. The societal and cultural development during the Bronze Age and the subsequent Iron Age was enormous in Greece, however interrupted by two significant transformations around 4200 years b2k (Early Helladic II/III; b2k refers to years before 2000 CE) and 3200 years b2k (end of Late Helladic III). Artefacts and building remains provide some insights into the cultural evolution, but only little is known about environmental and climatic changes on a detailed temporal and spatial scale. Here we present a 4000-year long stalagmite record (GH17-05) from Hermes Cave, Greece, located on Mount Ziria in the close vicinity of the Late Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae and the Classical-Hellenistic polis of Corinth. The cave was used in ancient times, as indicated by ceramic fragments in the entrance area and a pronounced soot layer in the stalagmite.

230Th-U dating provides age constraints for the growth of the stalagmite (continuous between ~ 800 and ~ 5300 years b2k) and the formation of a soot layer (2.5+0.5-0.65 ka b2k). Speleothem δ18O and δ13C values together with clumped isotopes and elemental ratios provide a detailed paleoclimate record of the Northern Peloponnese. The proxy data suggest significant centennial scale climate variability (i.e., wet vs. dry). Furthermore, carbonate δ18O values, calculated drip water δ18O values, 234U/238U activity ratios and elemental ratios suggest a long-term trend towards drier conditions from ca 3.7 to ~ 2.0 ka b2k. From 2.0 ka b2k towards growth stop of the stalagmite, a trend towards wetter conditions is observed. A high degree of correlation was found for isotope trends of different speleothems from the Peloponnese and partially with climate records from the Eastern Mediterranean, whereas speleothems and lake records with a larger distance to the Peloponnese show little correlation or even opposing trends.

Tobias Kluge et al.

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Tobias Kluge et al.

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Short summary
A stalagmite from Hermes Cave (Greece) provides new insights into the climate evolution from 5.3−0.8 ka. Its close proximity to Mycenae and Corinth allows for a future comparative assessment of societal changes in a climatic context. Proxy data suggest significant centennial scale climate variability (i.e., wet vs. dry) with a long-term trend towards drier conditions from ca 3.7 to ~ 2.0 ka. The largest proxy variation of the whole record is found around the 4.2 ka event.
A stalagmite from Hermes Cave (Greece) provides new insights into the climate evolution from...
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