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Eemian and Early Weichselian environments in southern Sweden: a multi-proxy study of till-covered organic deposits from the Småland peneplain



Based on their luminescence and infinite radiocarbon ages, organic deposits beneath till at two sites on the Småland peneplain, southern Sweden (Nybygget and Stora Gäddevik), are concluded to have formed before the Middle Weichselian. Applied palaeoecological methods include analyses of pollen, diatoms, charcoal fragments, macroscopic remains of vascular plants and mosses, and insect remains. Pollen-stratigraphical correlations with previously studied interglacial/interstadial sites in southern Sweden, Denmark and northern Germany suggest that the peat at Nybygget dates from the Brørup interstadial or the final stage of the Eemian interglacial, whereas the lake sediments at Stora Gäddevik probably were emplaced during the middle Eemian. We conclude that the peat was formed in a wetland characterized by both wood swamp and open mire vegetation, and surrounded by semi-open woodlands dominated by pine, birch and hazel. The middle Eemian sequence at the Stora Gäddevik site provides evidence of a moderately nutrient-rich to nutrient-rich lake environment with relatively diverse aquatic vegetation. Regional vegetation, as reconstructed using the REVEALS model, was spruce woodland mixed with pine, alder and birch, but also included more open environments with hazel, oak, grasslands and sedge-dominated wetlands. Water shield (Brasenia schreberi), now extinct in Europe, was identified in the Eemian lake deposits, from both pollen and macroscopic remains.