Krivokorin I.G.   Ershova E.G.  

paleoecological studies of medieval ponds of MSU Zvenigorod Biological Station (Moscow region)

Reporter: Krivokorin I.G.

Ancient hydrotechnical structures (ponds, ditches, wells, dams etc.), hillforts and mounds are visually distinguishable elements of the anthropogenic landscape. The latter receive constant attention from Russian archaeology and paleobotany. However, hydrotechnical structures are practically not investigated, despite the significant number of European publications on this subject.
We applied pollen, moisture capacity, ash content, plant macrofossils, coprophilous fungi analysis and radiocarbon dating to investigate two ancient ponds on different sides of the Volkov bog (Moscow region, Russia), to determine the date of their creation and economic purpose, and to evaluate their impact on the surrounding wetland vegetation.
The results showed that:
1. The ponds were dug in the 11th-13th century for economic purposes related to agriculture and cattle breeding.
2. There were three periods of human economic off-site activity near the bog: 1) forest burning and plowing on the banks of the bog during the Early Iron Age (about 2000 BP); 2) burning of the forest for agriculture / grazing and the creation of ponds (about 800 bp); 3) drainage of the bog with drainage trenches and peat mining (18/19 century?).
3. The creation of pond №1 and the drainage trench facilitated the temporary drainage of the eastern edge of the bog. The creation of pond № 2 contributed to the flooding of the northern part of the bog. After the termination of their economic use, both ponds began to accumulate peat.
Our research demonstrates the potential for applying multidisciplinary analysis in the study of ancient ponds is extensive.

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