Human impact signals from peat bogs: a combined palynological and geochemical approach


Lomas-Clarke, Sarah H. and Barber, Keith E. (2006) Human impact signals from peat bogs: a combined palynological and geochemical approach. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany (doi:10.1007/s00334-006-0085-3).

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Description/Abstract

Abstract This research compares palynological evidence for changes in land use histories with a geochemical method for reconstructing past soil erosion. Changes in land use have significant effects on soil erosion. It has been shown elsewhere that silicon (Si) and titanium (Ti) are good proxies for soil erosion. Ombrotrophic peat bogs are useful archives in which to measure Si and Ti depositions as they only receive inorganic erosional inputs through atmospheric deposition and they contain very low background levels of mineral matter. The correlation between geochemical and pollen analytical reconstructions of past human activity from three raised bog sites in Great Britain and Ireland is discussed here, with reference to examples from four particular time periods: the mid-to-late Bronze Age/Iron Age, the late Iron Age/Roman period, the Middle Ages/Tudor period and the more recent past. The results generally indicate a close correlation between the palynological and geochemical proxies, with the combination of both methods allowing a more comprehensive interpretation of the palaeoenvironmental record. Plantago lanceolata and Poaceae pollen frequencies appear to correlate particularly well with the geochemical proxies. A multi-proxy approach such as this may be particularly useful for identifying and interpreting low-level prehistoric human impact.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Successfully demonstrates, from peat bogs in England, Wales and Ireland, that the combined approach of palynological and geochemical reconstruction of human impact on vegetation and soils yields enhanced records of change from the Bronze Age to today. Particularly useful for identifying and interpreting low-level prehistoric impact.
ISSNs: 0939-6314 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: human impact, land use change, geochemistry, pollen analysis, raised bog, british isles
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Q Science > QK Botany
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Environmental Processes and Change
ePrint ID: 43540
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2007
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:28
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/43540

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