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We discuss pollen, soil, geomorphologic, and archaeological records used for reconstructing climatic, biogeographic, and human-environment events in the Crimean Peninsula during the past 130 k.y. Warm and moist conditions conducive to forest growth prevailed during the Eemian Interglacial (marine isotope stage [MIS] 5e). Although sea levels were higher than at present, a review of the stratigraphic and geomorphic data suggests that the peninsula was not detached from the mainland. During the last glacial period (MIS 5d–MIS 2), conditions fluctuated between steppe and tree growth in warmer places during the stadials, and forest-steppe during the interstadials. The Pleistocene–Holocene transition involved forest growth during the Bølling-Allerød interstadials, steppe during the Younger Dryas, and a forest-steppe during the early Holocene. The establishment of the modern Black Sea ca. 7 ka and increasing temperatures led to the formation of the modern vegetation belts, ushering in optimal conditions for the establishment of Neolithic communities. A dry period peaked around 4–3.5 ka, followed by milder conditions that lasted until the colonization of Crimea by Greek farmers during the middle part of the first millennium A.D. Dry conditions at the end of the same millennium led to the abandonment of agriculture and settlement decline. Sea-level oscillations during the late Holocene had an important effect on shoreline configuration, lagoonal systems, coastal wetlands, and human settlements. Data used in this paper were drawn from a number of published papers, mostly in Russian and Ukrainian, as well as records produced by the authors' research.

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