Palynology: Research equipment | Reference collections | Links | Long-term environmental changes

Current research: Archaeological sites in Ljubljana

Very little is known about the Holocene vegetation history in the region of the modern city of Ljubljana. In this urban environment sediment suitable for palynological research is very rare, palaeoecological record is fragmented and pollen analysis was scarcely included in archaeological investigations. In the last few years the state of research is improving. Numerous archaeological excavations in Ljubljana revealed wetter contexts (such as ditches, water hollows or alluvial sediment below archaeological cultural layers) within otherwise dry archaeological sites. These are not ideal for pollen analysis and cover only short time periods, however, by combining pollen records from several study sites, vegetation history over longer time periods can be reconstructed.

  • NUK 2 – Roman period, 1st Cent. AD
  • Tribuna – Late Iron Age and Roman period?
  • Prule – Late Iron Age and Roman period?
  • Krojaška – Middle Ages (10th, 11th Cent.) and earlier?
  • Špica – Late Glacial + Bronze and Early Iron Age, possibly Late Iron Age as well


Pollen from a water hollow in a Roman training camp, dated to the beginning of the 1st century AD, suggests that the bank of the Ljubljanica river was covered by marsh vegetation. The landscape was partly wooded by oak, beech, hazel, fir and hornbeam, with open areas, which can be associated with the activities of Roman army and its auxiliary calvary

A pollen grain of ribwort plantain, a herb typical for pastures, was, together with other indicators of agriculture and grazing, found in the water hollow (light microscope, 200x magnification).

Andrič, M., B. Toškan, J. Dirjec in A. Gaspari, 2012 (v tisku). Arheološki in okoljski zapis v sedimentu vodne kotanje iz začetka 1. stoletja n. št. na lokaciji NUK II (Emona), v: A. Gaspari (ur.), Potopljena preteklost. Arheologija vodnih okolij in raziskovanje podvodne kulturne dediščine v Sloveniji.


Samples for pollen analysis were collected from ditches of a Roman fort (dated to ca 10 BC- 10 AD) and marshy sediment presumably of La Tene age (3rd –1st century BC). In drier archaeological layers (e. g. above La Tene marshy layers) pollen is not preserved.

Ljubljana – Tribuna, izvrtana preteklost (Arhej d.o.o., report in Slovenian)


Pollen samples were collected from a Roman ditch and marshy layers of (probably?) prehistoric age.


Sedimentary column for pollen analysis was collected from a profile of an archaeological trench, dated to ca 8th – 12th century AD. Testing of pollen preservation is currently under way and the first results suggest that (at least in some parts of the profile) pollen is preserved and will enable us to reconstruct the composition of medieval vegetation.


The preservation of pollen in the cultural layer of a Copper Age (ca 2500 cal. BC) settlement at Špica is very good. This cultural layer lies above gray clay of Lateglacial age, there is a 7000 yr hiatus between both layers! In the upper, oxydised part of the profile pollen preservation is not good. Publication of results is in preparation.

Bela krajina | Ljubljansko barje | Julian Alps | Solčavsko | Dinarids | Čičarija and Čepićko polje (Croatia) | Tatarli Höyük (Turkey)