Reference : Exploring ancient charcoal archives in Central Africa
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
Exploring ancient charcoal archives in Central Africa
Hubau, Wannes mailto [Universiteit Gent - Ugent > > > >]
Morin-Rivat, Julie mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Laboratoire de Foresterie des régions trop. et subtropicales >]
Van den Bulcke, Jan [Universiteit Gent - Ugent > > > >]
Van Acker, Joris [Universiteit Gent - Ugent > > > >]
Doucet, Jean-Louis [Université de Liège - ULiège > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Laboratoire de Foresterie des régions trop. et subtropicales >]
Beeckman, Hans mailto [Musée royal de l'Afrique centrale > > > >]
7th International workshop for African Archaeobotany
2-5 juillet 2012
[en] Charcol analysis ; Anthracology ; Palaeoecology ; Central Africa ; tropical forest ; Cameroon ; Republic of the Congo ; Democratic Republic of Congo ; DRC
[en] Fossil pollen and charcoal fragments are preserved in lake sediments, in forest soils and in ancient human settlements, were they can be accompanied by artifacts. As such, vegetation history is remarkably well archived and sometimes closely linked to cultural history. Direct evidence for Central African vegetation history has been mainly derived from pollen analysis, while the charcoal archive remains hardly explored. However, analysis of charred wood remains has proven worthwhile for palaeovegetation reconstructions in temperate and arid regions. One of the main challenges for charcoal identification in tropical regions is species diversity. Therefore we developed and present a transparent charcoal identification protocol within an umbrella database of species names and metadata, compiled from the on-line database of wood-anatomical descriptions (InsideWood), the database of the world’s largest reference collection of Central African wood specimens (RMCA, Tervuren, Belgium) and inventory and indicator species lists. We applied the protocol on radiocarbon dated charcoal collections sampled in the Mayumbe forest (Bas-Congo, DRCongo), in human settlements along the Aruwimi and Lomami rivers (Province Orientale, DRCongo), along the Sangha river (Sangha department, Republic of the Congo) and in Pallisco logging concessions (East Province of Cameroon). First charcoal identification results are promising and sometimes seem to be taxonomically more precise than pollen identification. However, next to opportunities, we also present some pitfalls when exploring ancient charcoal archives.
FRIA - Fonds pour la formation à la Recherche dans l'Industrie et dans l'Agriculture
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students

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