image/svg+xml95 VIII/1/2017 INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICA NATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGY homepage: http://www.iansa.eu Book reviews Volume VIII ● Issue 1/2017 ● Pages 95–96 Geschichte der Kulturlandschaft. Enstehungsursachen und Steurerungsfaktoren der Entwicklung der Kulturlandschaft, Lebensraum- und Artenvielfalt in Mitteleuropa History of Cultural Landscape. Causes of the Origin and Driving Forces of Landscape, Habitat and Species Diversity Changes in Central EuropePeter PoschlodEugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart (Hohenheim). 2015. ISBN 978-3-8001-7983-1 (hardcover)by inhabitants of the medieval Holy Roman Empire. In each of these periods and socio-political units, the landscape developed under the anthropic pressure, leading to the formation of a specifc cultural mode, which was substantially constrained by the setting of the geographical area.The book, as the author admits in his introduction, has been in the process and its material collected over the last twenty years. Conceptually, the book’s topic is not new within the German scientifc literature; its predecessors can be seen in several older writings and in a rather popular volume by Hansjörg Küster (1996), who described the development of the Central European landscape from the Ice Age up to the present. In comparison with Küster’s book, Poschod’s Geschichte der Kulturlandschaft is more scientifc and, on the whole, broadly more useable in daily scientifc practice, containing as it does 1 589 references, all connected via a system of numbers directly within the text of the book. Such a respectable amount of references, as well as the richness of argumentation, makes this book the fundamental base for any work in the postglacial history of nature in central Europe.The frst, slightly shorter, chapter deals with the origins of the Central European landscape, along with the constraining processes formed by vegetation, animals and humans. It explains the roots of the Central European cultural landscape in the Neolithic period. The timing of the landscape transformation at the Neolithic period is generally correct; however, some anthropic infuences seem to be older, for example, concerning the anthropic impact in the Mesolithic period. Conceptually, this part represents rather a traditional view. A mixture of some local elements of nature with a certain amount of species from the Near East via the Balkans, and the western ways via the Rhône valley, with domesticated species dispersion and transmission, demonstrates the roots of the Central European landscape transformation in the Neolithic period. Stories of domesticated plants and animals are narrated from the perspective of the natural sciences. To start the explanation with animals, however, does seem a little unusual, as they were domesticated long after plants. The author omits to mention a long period of wild plant species cultivation, and recent trends in plant domestication ( e.g. Weiss et al. 2006), but it would demand another distinct chapter. This step appears to be unnecessary as the book is about Central Europe. The issue of the origins of agriculture, therefore, could be regarded as a traditional introduction deduced necessarily from generally-known facts. Thus recent views on the origins of agriculture are not mentioned (see, for example, the current conceptualisation by D. Fuller et al. 2014).From the Eurasian perspective, the Neolithic transformation is crucial, because in this period Central Europe acts as a prolonged fnger of the Near East. The concept of the south and south-eastern elements in the Central European landscape and the phenomenon of the difusion and adaptation of agriculture is generally correct and enlightening. The author ofers a rich outline of the processes of plant and animal migration, which formed the frst large transformation of the landscape. During the Neolithic period, not only was there a new package of staple food plants used, but also a large amount of archaeophytes is recorded in archaeobotanical assemblages.However, some details are surprising and maybe disputable. For example, water chestnut ( Trapa natans ) has been widely used as a staple food and cultivated in the Mesolithic period (Zvelebil 1994). Peter Poschlod discusses its use in the Neolithic period and later. In this context, the accessibility of water chestnut in 19 th century trade is very surprising and interesting. It is just one of the reasons why environmental archaeologists should read this book carefully. Reason enough not only in the case of water chestnut, but in many other species that the author describes. Although we could discuss the incoming and difusion of “the Neolithic” elements in our natural environment and the It is difcult to fnd a proper box for this book. Simply said, it is a book on the edge between vegetation ecology, landscape history and archaeology, written by a vegetation ecologist and botanist, who is experienced in other sciences. Peter Poschlod, equipped by a vast knowledge concerning landscape and its history, suggests an amazing set of stories that have occurred in the central European landscape since the beginning of agriculture – in 320 pages. The author defnes Central Europe as a geographical region under the long, intensive, and invariably similar infuence of Neolithic societies, followed by Bronze Age people, Romans and, fnally,