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Palaeoecology of human impact during the historic period: palynology and geochemistry of a peat deposit at Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway, Ireland

Lomas-Clarke, S.H. and Barber, K.E. (2004) Palaeoecology of human impact during the historic period: palynology and geochemistry of a peat deposit at Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway, Ireland The Holocene, 14, (5), pp. 721-731. (doi:10.1191/0959683604hl750rp).

Record type: Article


Understanding the present condition of the cultural landscape requires a palaeoecological perspective with a particular emphasis on the growing intensity of human impact over the last few centuries. Detailed palynological investigations of the uppermost metre of peat at Abbeyknockmoy Bog were supplemented by silicon and titanium analyses to give additional proxy records for the intensity of human impact on the local landscape. The AMS radiocarbon chronology for this profile is constrained by the presence of the Hekla-1 tephra isochron of AD 1104. The palaeoenvironmental evidence correlates closely to the local historical and archaeological records. The results indicate a late Iron Age lull in human impact in the early centuries AD, which is followed by increasing agricultural activity during the early Christian period. The establishment of the Cistercian monastery of Abbeyknockmoy in the twelfth century AD had a significant impact upon the landscape. A peak in deforestation and farming activity is registered in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries AD. The silicon and titanium records correlate strongly with the pollen indicators for increased human disturbance.

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Published date: 2004
Additional Information: Pioneering research on silicon and titanium analyses, allied to high resolution pollen analyses, as proxies for farming activity during the under-researched historic period. Used historic tephra, Hekla AD 1104, to tie data to the founding of the local Cistercian monastery and links palaeoecology to documentary history. NERC funded.
Keywords: human impact, palaeoecology, historical period, late holocene, geochemistry, pollen analysis, silicon and titanium, analyses, tephra, ireland


Local EPrints ID: 15524
ISSN: 0959-6836
PURE UUID: ebfcd27a-b6ea-42f8-9935-9f9315de5082

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Date deposited: 20 Apr 2005
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:48

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Author: S.H. Lomas-Clarke
Author: K.E. Barber

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