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D. Kaniewski, E. Van Campo, E. Paulissen, H. Weiss, T. Otto, J. Bakker, I. Rossignol, and K. Van Lerberghe (2011)

Medieval coastal Syrian vegetation patterns in the principality of Antioch

The Holocene, 21(2):251–262.

The coastal area of Jableh, in the vicinity of the Saladin and Al-Marquab castles, is a fertile alluvial plain located on the northwestern part of Syria, in what was once the crusader Principality of Antioch. In order to detail the coastal environment during the crusader period in the Middle East, palynological analyses have been conducted on the underlying coastal-alluvial deposits. The recovered sediments represent a continuous record of the environmental history of the area spanning a c. AD 850—1850 cal. yr period, from the Muslim Era up to and including the late Ottoman times. During the local crusader period (AD 1100—1270), the area was dominated by an arborescent mattoral mixed with a xerophytic shrub-steppe. The alluvial plain was slightly waterlogged and colonized by a wetland meadow with an open vegetation of steppe-like character on bare surfaces and fresh arable soils. The riparian and open deciduous riverine forests were weakly developed. Signs of agricultural activities are mainly recorded for the High Medieval period (AD 1000—1300), with an increase of vineyards in the coastal area. Since c. AD 1250 cal. yr until the end of the crusader period, agricultural activities never reached the same intensity as during the Mameluke Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire.

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