23 Nov 2022
 | 23 Nov 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

The use of paleoclimate simulations to refine the environmental and chronological context of archaeological/paleontological sites

Léa Terray, Emmanuelle Stoetzel, Eslem Ben Arous, Masa Kageyama, Raphaël Cornette, and Pascale Braconnot

Abstract. This study illustrates the strong potential of combining paleoenvironmental reconstructions and paleoclimate modeling to refine the paleoenvironmental and chronological context of archaeological and paleontological sites. We focus on the El Harhoura 2 cave (EH2), an archeological site located on the North-Atlantic coast of Morocco that covers a period from the Late Pleistocene to the mid-Holocene. On several stratigraphic layers, inconsistencies are observed between species- and isotope-based inferences used to reconstruct paleoenvironmental conditions. The stratigraphy of EH2 also shows chronological inconsistencies on older layers between age estimated by Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) and Combination of Uranium Series and Electron Spin Resonance methods (combined US-ESR). We performed paleoclimate simulations to infer the global paleoclimate variations over the EH2 sequence in the area, and we conducted a consistency approach between paleoclimate reconstruction estimated from simulations and available from EH2 paleoenvironmental inferences. Our main conclusion show that the climate sequence based on combined US-ESR ages is more consistent with paleoenvironmental inferences than the climate sequence based on OSL ages. We also evidence that isotope-based inferences are more congruent with the paleoclimate sequence than species-based inferences. These results highlight the difference in scale between the information provided by each of these paleoenvironmental proxies. Our approach is transferable to other sites due to the increase number of available paleoclimate simulations.

Léa Terray et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2022-81', Patrick Bartlein, 17 Jan 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Léa Terray, 24 Feb 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2022-81', Chris Brierley, 23 Jan 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', Léa Terray, 24 Feb 2023

Léa Terray et al.

Léa Terray et al.


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Short summary
The reconstruction of paleoenvironments has long been a subject of great interest, particularly to study the past biodiversity. Paleoenvironmental proxies often show inconsistencies and age estimations can vary depending on the method used. We show the potential of paleoclimate simulations to address those discrepancies, illustrating the strong potential of our cross-disciplinary consistency approach to refine the context of archaeo/paleontological sites.