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The study aims to contribute to the medieval environmental history of the eastern periphery of the Transylvanian Plain (Câmpia Transilvaniei/Mezőség). With the help of archaeological and historical data and the multi-aspect analysis of undisturbed core sequences, the economic life of the Pauline Monastery founded in the 14th century near Sâncraiu de Mureş (Marosszentkirály) and the surrounding villages was investigated. The multidisciplinary research focuses on the paleochannels of the Mureş and the artificial watercourses (ditches) that branch off the river, and the mills built on them. The work also provides new data on the general environmental changes in the middle course of the Mureş river during the Middle Ages and the early modern period, which are largely due to the very intense human activity here.

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Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Authors: Gusztáv Jakab, Lóránd Silye, Pál Sümegi, Tünde Törőcsik, Attila Tóth, Balázs Pál Sümegi, and Elek Benkő

The medieval market-town of Sic (Szék in Hungarian) was an important Transylvanian settlement due to its remarkable salt mining. The impact of the mining activities on the environment and the history of water management were investigated based on a palaeoecological study, performed on the large Reedbed of Sic (Stufărişurile/Nádas-tó). We found that in the last 3000 years the anthropogenic impact has been continuous in the territory, but the types and intensity of the disturbances changed with time. The most notable environmental transitions took place after 1000 AD, suggesting a significant intensification of salt mining. Forest cover significantly drop, but salt concentration and the frequency of halophytic species in the investigated marshland increased during the Late Middle Ages. The dominance of halophytic marshland species reached their peak in the 17th century. This coincides with the apogee of mining activities and human lake management. The most remarkable deforestation occurred in the 18th century, when the present-day landscape with negligible forest cover was developed.

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