The sea existing till the end of Oligocene was dotted with many islands in what is today the Balkan Peninsula area. At the very beginning of the Miocene this region became dry land, the Balkan Land, which was covered through time by lake systems of variable extent. During the Lower Miocene a succession of three lake systems spread not only over the Balkan Peninsula (comprising ex-Yugoslavia, NE Macedonia, SW and SE Bulgaria, and central Greece) but also over the northern parts of the Central and some of the Western Paratethys. Lacustrine environment ended shortly after the beginning of the Middle Miocene, when waters of the epicontinental Paratethys Sea covered the Balkan Land from the north. In this paper we do not consider any of the Upper Miocene and Pliocene lakes.
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.