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Holocene rapid climate change and vegetation response in Cappadocia, Turkey

Project Description

Multi-proxy approaches to integrated regional studies of environmental variability during the late Glacial and Holocene can provide valuable insights into the ways that significant shifts in climate have affected natural ecosystems, landscapes and human activities over decadal, centennial and millennial timescales. For the eastern Mediterranean region in particular, there is current and active debate between past climatic variations and vegetation dynamics during the humid phase of the early Holocene as well as the impacts that punctuated aridification events during the Holocene had on natural and cultural change in this region. The eastern Mediterranean also has a long history of human occupation, so these landscapes have also been transformed by human-induced land cover changes. The extent to which climate change in Anatolia has caused natural environment change over these millennia, and how these changes have influenced and interacted with the emergence – and in some cases decline – of complex societies and civilizations (e.g., Hittites) and the extent to which complex societies and civilisations impacted upon the natural environment are questions that still need to be addressed by archaeologists, palaeoecologists and palaeoclimatologists. Addressing research questions such as these requires a multi-proxy approach where continuous and well-dated proxy records of climate and vegetation change from the same core sequence can be compared with systematic archaeological and historical records of human settlement. The Cappadocia region of Anatolia is well suited to this task. It contains an exceptionally rich and well-studied archaeological record (e.g., Allcock and Roberts, 2014), and also possesses volcanic maar lakes, which contain an important suite of predominantly laminated sediments which preserve an archive of climate variations, vegetation, land use, and soil erosion.

Funding Notes

CENTA studentships are for 3.5 years and are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In addition to the full payment of their tuition fees, successful candidates will receive the following financial support.
• Annual stipend, set at £15,009 for 2019/20
• Research training support grant (RTSG) of £8,000


Allcock, S. and Roberts, C.N. (2014) Changes in regional settlement patterns in Cappadocia (central Turkey) since the Neolithic: A combined site survey perspective. Anatolian Studies 64, 33-5.
Dean, J.R., Eastwood, W.J. et al. (2015) Eastern Mediterranean hydroclimate over the late glacial and Holocene, reconstructed from the sediments of Nar lake, central Turkey, using stable isotopes and carbonate mineralogy. Quaternary Science Reviews 124, 162-174.
Dean, J.R., Eastwood, W.J. et al. (2017) Seasonality of Holocene hydroclimate in the Eastern Mediterranean reconstructed using the oxygen isotope composition of carbonates and diatoms from Lake Nar, central Turkey. The Holocene DOI: 10.1177/0959683617721326.
Roberts, C.N., Dean, J.R., Eastwood, W.J. et al. (2016) A tale of two lakes: a multi-proxy comparison of Late Glacial and Holocene environmental change in Cappadocia, Turkey. Journal of Quaternary Science 31, 348-362.

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