Palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstruction of the Latest Pleistocene of L'Arbreda Cave (Serinyà, Girona, northeastern Iberia) inferred from the small-mammal (insectivore and rodent) assemblages

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L'Arbreda Cave is one of the southernmost of the Reclau Caves (Serinya, Girona, northeastern Iberian Peninsula), located between the west margin of the Pla d'Usall and the Serinyadell river, at an altitude of about 211 m a.s.l. The Pla d'Usall forms part of the Banyoles-Besald Basin, which is bounded by Eocene and Neogene reliefs. It is filled with sediments of Plio-Pleistocene age. The cave is a shelter formed by travertine cascades with a degree of karstification, and contains sedimentary deposits ranging from the end of the Middle Pleistocene to the Early Holocene, thus constituting an important archaeo-palaeontological record for an understanding of the prehistoric occupation of northeastern Iberia. It is one of the most complete and best-dated terrestrial sequences in Iberia from the Mousterian to the Early Holocene period. In this paper we present a palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstruction of the sequence based on non-flying small mammals (insectivores and rodents) and pollen analyses. The environmental and climatic results, together with the absolute dating of the sequence and direct comparison with NorthGRIP delta O-18 and the sea-surface temperatures (SST) of the Alboran Sea, allow us to identify various climatic periods within our sequence: a cold period between interstadials 12 and 10 in Level I, probably interstadial 10 in Level H-2 the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in Levels C and B, the Bolling-Allered interstadial (B/A) in Level A, and the Preboreal/Boreal (Pr/B) in the Terra Rossa Level ​
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