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Exploring ancient charcoal archives in Central Africa: opportunities and pitfalls of a recently developed identification protocol

Wannes Hubau UGent, Julie Morin-Rivat, Jan Van den Bulcke UGent, Joris Van Acker UGent, Jean-Louis Doucet and Hans Beeckman (2012) African Archaeobotany, 7th International workshop, Abstracts.
abstract
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.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
in
African Archaeobotany, 7th International workshop, Abstracts
conference name
7th International workshop for African Archaeobotany (IWAA-7)
conference location
Vienna, Austria
conference start
2012-07-02
conference end
2012-07-05
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C3
id
2963308
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2963308
date created
2012-07-17 11:32:32
date last changed
2012-08-03 15:39:40
@inproceedings{2963308,
  abstract     = {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{\textquoteright}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.},
  author       = {Hubau, Wannes and Morin-Rivat, Julie and Van den Bulcke, Jan and Van Acker, Joris and Doucet, Jean-Louis and Beeckman, Hans},
  booktitle    = {African Archaeobotany, 7th International workshop, Abstracts},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Vienna, Austria},
  title        = {Exploring ancient charcoal archives in Central Africa: opportunities and pitfalls of a recently developed identification protocol},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Hubau, Wannes, Julie Morin-Rivat, Jan Van den Bulcke, Joris Van Acker, Jean-Louis Doucet, and Hans Beeckman. 2012. “Exploring Ancient Charcoal Archives in Central Africa: Opportunities and Pitfalls of a Recently Developed Identification Protocol.” In African Archaeobotany, 7th International Workshop, Abstracts.
APA
Hubau, W., Morin-Rivat, J., Van den Bulcke, J., Van Acker, J., Doucet, J.-L., & Beeckman, H. (2012). Exploring ancient charcoal archives in Central Africa: opportunities and pitfalls of a recently developed identification protocol. African Archaeobotany, 7th International workshop, Abstracts. Presented at the 7th International workshop for African Archaeobotany (IWAA-7).
Vancouver
1.
Hubau W, Morin-Rivat J, Van den Bulcke J, Van Acker J, Doucet J-L, Beeckman H. Exploring ancient charcoal archives in Central Africa: opportunities and pitfalls of a recently developed identification protocol. African Archaeobotany, 7th International workshop, Abstracts. 2012.
MLA
Hubau, Wannes, Julie Morin-Rivat, Jan Van den Bulcke, et al. “Exploring Ancient Charcoal Archives in Central Africa: Opportunities and Pitfalls of a Recently Developed Identification Protocol.” African Archaeobotany, 7th International Workshop, Abstracts. 2012. Print.