EGU24-20730, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Detecting the undecteable: transhumant nomads in palynological data

Adam Izdebski and Georgios Liakopoulos
Adam Izdebski and Georgios Liakopoulos
  • Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology, Germany (

Nomadic communities are difficult to detect in the written and material record historians and archaeologists traditionally use to study the past. Contrary to settled grain cultivators, who were easy target for state taxation and were often recorded in a variety of documents, or who left easy to detect traces of permanent villages, nomads often remained outside of the radar of the traditional sources. Nomadic communities, however, profoundly transformed landscapes they lived in. These landscapes, in turn, produced different environmental signals that are preserved in the sedimentary records. Pollen data, in particular, make it possible to reconstruct the presence and activities of nomads in a given area, filling in the gaps in the historical and archaeological record. In our short presentation, we will look at high resolution pollen evidence from Macedonia (Northern Greece) that could be used to trace the presence of transhumant nomads in this region in the last two millennia. We will show how the paleoenvironmental reconstruction can be connected to otherwise fragmentary and problematic written information to create a consilient reconstruction of the past, recovering the presence of diverse groups that inhabited the Northern Greek landscape in the medieval and early modern times.

How to cite: Izdebski, A. and Liakopoulos, G.: Detecting the undecteable: transhumant nomads in palynological data, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20730,, 2024.