Deciphering late Quaternary land snail shell δ18O and δ13C from Franchthi Cave (Argolid, Greece)

Abstract : This paper investigates the stable isotopic composition from late Pleistocene–Holocene (~ 13 to ~ 10.5 cal ka BP) shells of the land snail Helix figulina, from Franchthi Cave (Greece). It explores the palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental implications of the isotope palaeoecology of archaeological shells at the time of human occupation of the cave. Modern shells from around the cave were also analysed and their isotopic signatures compared with those of the archaeological shells. The carbon isotope composition of modern shells depicts the consumption of C3 vegetation. Shell oxygen isotopic values are consistent with other Mediterranean snail shells from coastal areas. Combining empirical linear regression and an evaporative model, the δ18Os suggest that modern snails in the study area are active during periods of higher relative humidity and lower rainfall δ18O, probably at night. Late glacial and early Holocene δ18Os show lower values compared to modern ones. Early Holocene δ18Os values likely track enhanced moisture and isotopic changes in the precipitation source. By contrast, lower late glacial δ18O could reflect lower temperatures and δ18Op, compared to the present day. Shell carbon isotope values indicate the presence of C3 vegetation as main source of carbon to late glacial and early Holocene snails.
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André C. Colonese, Giovanni Zanchetta, Catherine Perlès, Russell N. Drysdale, Giuseppe Manganelli, et al.. Deciphering late Quaternary land snail shell δ18O and δ13C from Franchthi Cave (Argolid, Greece). Quaternary Research, Elsevier, 2013, 80 (1), pp.66-75. ⟨10.1016/j.yqres.2013.03.006⟩. ⟨hal-01529114⟩

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