Prehistoric human influence on soil dynamics and slope transformation on the Subcarpathian Loess Plateau, southeastern Poland

Piotr Gębica


This study examines the impact of prehistoric human activities on the landscape of the Subcarpathian Loess Plateau, focusing on areas such as the Kańczuga Plateau in southeastern Poland. Through a multidisciplinary approach that integrates archaeological excavation, soil profile analysis, and geomorphological survey techniques, environmental changes are traced from the Neolithic through the early Middle Ages. A key aspect comprises various soil types, particularly chernozems and brown soils, which have been influenced by early agricultural practices like deforestation and land cultivation. The use of radiocarbon and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating of soil profiles and archaeological sites provides insights into the timeline of human-induced erosional and depositional processes and deposits ranging in age from the Palaeolithic period to the early Middle Ages. The results highlight significant soil erosion and colluvial deposit formation, especially during periods of intensified agriculture. These changes in specific soil types underscore the substantial impact of human activities and climatic variations on land relief and soil cover in the Late Holocene. This study contributes to a deeper understanding of human-driven landscape alterations in loess areas, offering valuable insights for environmental management and conservation on the Kańczuga Plateau, in the Sandomierz Basin, and in other similar geomorphological settings.


soil erosion, slope wash deposits, palaeosols, radiocarbon dating

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