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Nykamp, Moritz; Becker, Fabian; Braun, Ricarda; Poellath, Nadja; Knitter, Daniel; Peters, Joris and Schutt, Brigitta (2020): Sediment cascades and the entangled relationship between human impact and natural dynamics at the pre-pottery Neolithic site of Gobekli Tepe, Anatolia. In: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 46, No. 2: pp. 430-442

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This study presents a meta-analysis of radiocarbon ages for the environs of Gobekli Tepe - one of the oldest monumental structures worldwide - using cumulative probability functions to diachronically assess phases of geomorphodynamic activity as controlled by natural or anthropogenic drivers. We employ sediment cascades as a heuristic framework to study the complex responses of the geomorphological system to various triggers at local to supra-regional scales. Possible triggers include climatic variability as documented by supra-regional hydroclimatic proxy data, regional demographic trends, and local to regional socioeconomic developments such as the emergence of sedentism or the introduction and dispersal of livestock herding. Our results show that phases of intensified geomorphodynamic activity occurred between ca. 7.4-7.0 and 5.8-3.3 ka BP. These phases roughly coincide with phases of population growth in southern Turkey and climatic variations in Turkey and the Levant. The phase between ca. 5.8-3.3 ka BP also corresponds to the time when organized agriculture and the seeder plough were introduced. Also, the identified phases are in agreement with the general trend of varying geomorphodynamic activity in the Eastern Mediterranean as driven by human impact and climatic change. However, neither the Younger Dryas-Holocene transition nor the development of herding during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic left a clear signature. We demonstrate how the different depositional environments in the studied landscape compartments vary with respect to their spatiotemporal coverage and discuss challenges when trying to understand processes that once shaped landscapes of past societies. (c) 2020 The Authors. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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