Вісник Київського національного університету імені Тараса Шевченка


Bulletin of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv



Gerasimenko N.
ORCID  iD https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9278-5770
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine

A pollen and soil study of deposits of the Novokyivka site sheds light on the environment of the Sabatynivka culture (Late Bronze Age, XIV-XIII cent. BC), which was located in the central part of the southern steppe of Ukraine: this record demonstrates that this time span was characterized by a sharp increase in humidity. This is reflected in the spread of mesophytic herbs in the area between the River Dnieper and the Sea of Azov. The dry treeless Artemisia-Poaceae steppe that existed in southern Ukraine at the threshold of the Late Bronze Age was replaced by an association of forbs and Poaceae. The area of the Oleshya woodland, in the low reaches of the River Dnieper, was larger than today, and mesophilic species (Carpinus betulus, Ulmus sp., Quercus robur, Tilia cordata, Corylus avellana) grew there. Earlier pollen and palaeopedological studies of the Late Bronze settlements in the forbs-Poaceae steppe of SE Ukraine also indicate a strong southward shift of meadow-steppe and forest-steppe zones. All of this evidence indicates a significantly higher humidity of the climate than today. The Sabatynivka culture demonstrates an unprecedented rise in the number of settlements and in arable agricultural development. The latter is confirmed by the presence of pollen grains of Cerealia and segetal weeds. The decline of the Sabatynivka culture was caused by another climatic shift: to aridification, that started in the XII cent. BC, and culminated in the X-VIII cent. BC. The population of the xeric steppe between the River Dnieper and the Sea of Azov was not able to continue the previous sedentary agriculture that had typified the Sabatynivka culture. Only temporary camps of cattle breeders occurred in the south-east of Ukraine. This crisis was not caused by the human-induced exhaustion of soil-biological resources, but by climatic factors, as it was not a local phenomenon: this strongest aridification at the end of the Late Bronze Age is revealed everywhere in areas of semi-arid and arid climate in the East- European steppe and the Mediterranean realm.

short-period climatic changes, steppe zone, palynology, paleopedology, mesophytication and xerophytization of vegetation


DOI: http://doi.org/10.17721/1728-2721.2019.75.1


1. Bezus’ko L.G. Zakonomirnosti ta tendentsii rozvytku roslynnogo pokryvu Ukrainy u piznyomu pleistotseni ta golotseni / L. G. Bezus’ko Безусько, С. L. Моsyakin, А. G. Bezus’ko. − К.: Аlterpres, 2011. – 447 p.
2. Demkin V. A. Evolyutsia pochv i dinamika klimata nizhnevolzhskih stepey v drevnosti i Srednevekovye / V. A. Demkin, M. V. Yeltsov, S. N. Udaltsov // Evolyutsia pochv i pochvennyh pokrovov. − M.: GEOS, 2015. – P. 546-550.
3. Zolotun I. V. Razvitie pochv yuga Ukrainy za poslednie 45-50 vekov /Развитие почв юга Украины за последние 45-50 веков / I. V. Zolotun. – К.: VASHNIL, 1975. – 74 p.
4. Ivanov I.V. Evolutsia pochv lesostepi i chernozemnoy stepi Tsentral’noy oblasti / I.V. Ivanov, Yu.G. Chendev // Evolyutsia pochv i pochvennyh pokrovov. − M.: GEOS, 2015. – P. 456-469.
5. Klimat Ukrainy. − K.: Vyd-vo Rayevskogo, 2003. – 343 p.
6. Pesochina L. V. Zakonomernosti poznegolotsenovogo pochvoobrazovania v nizhnedonskih stepyah v predelah severo-vostochnoy chasti areala / L. V. Pesochina // Evolyutsia pochv i pochvennyh pokrovov. − M.: GEOS, 2015. – P. 480-493.
7. Bottema S. The interpretation of pollen spectra from prehistoric settlements / S. Bottema // Palaeohistoria. – 1975, #17. – P.18-35.
8. Gerasimenko N. Environmental and climatic changes between 3 and 5 ka BP in Southeastern Ukraine / N. Gerasimenko // Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse. − Berlin Heidelberg, Springer-Werlag, 1997. − P.371-399.
9. Gerasimenko N. Environment of the Late Bronze cultures in the Lower Bug and Dnieper areas / N. Gerasimenko., Ya. Gershkovich, V. Fomenko // IGCP 521 – INQUA 0501 “Caspian-Black Sea-Mediterranean corridor during last 30 ky: sea level change and hman adaptive strategies”. 4th Plenary Meeting and Field Trip. Extended Abstracts. – GeoEcoMar, 2008. – P.61-63.
10. Gershkovich Ya. P. Farmers and pastoralist in the Pontic Lowland during the Late Bronze Age / Ya. P. Gershkovich // Prehistoric steppe adaptation and horse. – Cambridge, McDonald Institute Monographs, 2003. – P.307-317.
11. Gershkovich Ya. P. Global causes of some local phenomena during the Late Bronze Age in the Northern Pontic steppe / Ya. Gershkovich // Der Schwartzmeerraum vom Äneolithicum bis in die Früheisenzeit (5000 – 500 v. Chr.). – Verlag Marie Leidorf GmbH – Rahden-Westf., 2011. – P.166-177.
12. Kremenetski K. Steppe and Forest-steppe of Eurasia : Holocene Environmental History / K. Kremenetski // Prehistoric steppe adaptation and horse. – Cambridge, McDonald Institute Monographs. 2003. – P. 11-27.
13. Langgut D. Climate and the Late Bronze Collapse: New Evidence from the Southern Levant. / D. Langgut, I. Finkelstein, T. Litt // Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel-Aviv University. – 2013, vol. 40 (2). – P.149-175.
14. Langgut D. Dead Sea pollen record and history of human activity in Judean Highlands from the Intermediate Bronze into Iron Ages (2500-500 BCE) / D. Langgut, F. Newmann, M. Stein, A. Vagner, E. Kagan, E. Boaretto, I. Finkelstain // Palynology. – 2014, #38(2).− P.2-23.
15. Mediterranean Holocene climate, environment and human societies // Quaternary Science Reviews: Special Issue, 2016, vol.1. –Amsterdam, Elsevier. – 256 p.
16. Palmisano A. Holocene landscape dynamics and long-tern population trends in the Levant / A. Palmisano A., J. Woodbridge, C. N. Roberts // Holocene. – 2019, #29 (5). − P. 708-727.
17. Pashkevich G. Palaeoethnobotanical evidence of agriculture in the steppe and forest-steppe of East Europe in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age / G. Pashkevich // Prehistoric steppe adaptation and horse. – Cambridge, McDonald Institute Monographs, 2003. – P. 287-297.

Download (.pdf)

Suggested citation:

Gerasimenko, N., 2019. Palaeoenvironmental factors influencing the rise and the collapse of the Sabatynivka farming culture in southern Ukraine. Visnyk Kyivskogo nacionalnogo universytetu imeni Tarasa Shevchenka, Geografiya [Bulletin of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Geography], 2 (75), 5-10 (in English, abstr. in Ukranian), doi: 10.17721/1728-2721.2019.75.1

Received Editorial Board  17.12.2019
Accepted for publication