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The resilience of postglacial hunter-gatherers to abrupt climate change

The resilience of postglacial hunter-gatherers to abrupt climate change
The resilience of postglacial hunter-gatherers to abrupt climate change
Understanding the resilience of early societies to climate change is an essential part of exploring the environmental sensitivity of human populations. There is significant
interest in the role of abrupt climate events as a driver of early Holocene human
activity, but there are very few well-dated records directly compared to local climate
archives. Here we present evidence from the internationally important Mesolithic site of Star Carr showing occupation during the early Holocene, which is directly compared to a high-resolution palaeoclimate record from neighbouring lake beds. We show that once established there was intensive human activity at the site for several hundred years when the community was subject to multiple, severe, abrupt climate events that
impacted air temperatures, the landscape and ecosystem of the region. However, these new results show that occupation and activity at the site persisted regardless of the environmental stresses experienced by this society. The Star Carr population displayed a high-level of resilience to climate change, suggesting that postglacial populations were not necessarily held hostage to the flickering switch of climate change. Instead we show that local, intrinsic changes in the wetland environment were more significant in determining human activity than the large-scale abrupt Early Holocene climate events.
1-12
Blockley, Simon
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Candy, Ian
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Matthews, Ian
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Langdon, Peter
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Langdon, Cath
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Palmer, Adrian
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Lincoln, Paul
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Abrook, Ashley
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Taylor, Barry
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Conneller, Chantal
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Bayliss, Alex
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Macleod, Alison
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Deeprose, Laura
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Darvill, Chris
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Kearney, Rebecca
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Beavan, Nancy
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Staff, Richard
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Bamforth, Michael
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Taylor, Maisie
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Milner, Nicky
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Blockley, Simon
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Candy, Ian
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Matthews, Ian
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Langdon, Peter
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Langdon, Cath
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Palmer, Adrian
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Lincoln, Paul
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Abrook, Ashley
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Taylor, Barry
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Conneller, Chantal
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Bayliss, Alex
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Macleod, Alison
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Deeprose, Laura
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Darvill, Chris
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Kearney, Rebecca
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Beavan, Nancy
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Staff, Richard
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Bamforth, Michael
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Taylor, Maisie
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Milner, Nicky
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Blockley, Simon, Candy, Ian, Matthews, Ian, Langdon, Peter, Langdon, Cath, Palmer, Adrian, Lincoln, Paul, Abrook, Ashley, Taylor, Barry, Conneller, Chantal, Bayliss, Alex, Macleod, Alison, Deeprose, Laura, Darvill, Chris, Kearney, Rebecca, Beavan, Nancy, Staff, Richard, Bamforth, Michael, Taylor, Maisie and Milner, Nicky (2018) The resilience of postglacial hunter-gatherers to abrupt climate change. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1-12. (doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0508-4).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Understanding the resilience of early societies to climate change is an essential part of exploring the environmental sensitivity of human populations. There is significant
interest in the role of abrupt climate events as a driver of early Holocene human
activity, but there are very few well-dated records directly compared to local climate
archives. Here we present evidence from the internationally important Mesolithic site of Star Carr showing occupation during the early Holocene, which is directly compared to a high-resolution palaeoclimate record from neighbouring lake beds. We show that once established there was intensive human activity at the site for several hundred years when the community was subject to multiple, severe, abrupt climate events that
impacted air temperatures, the landscape and ecosystem of the region. However, these new results show that occupation and activity at the site persisted regardless of the environmental stresses experienced by this society. The Star Carr population displayed a high-level of resilience to climate change, suggesting that postglacial populations were not necessarily held hostage to the flickering switch of climate change. Instead we show that local, intrinsic changes in the wetland environment were more significant in determining human activity than the large-scale abrupt Early Holocene climate events.

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Blockley et al NAT HEE final (7 files merged) (1) - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 13 February 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 26 March 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419452
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419452
PURE UUID: ddf9fe29-e13d-4d45-933f-e7ff8ea14b12
ORCID for Peter Langdon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2724-2643

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Date deposited: 12 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 05:09

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Contributors

Author: Simon Blockley
Author: Ian Candy
Author: Ian Matthews
Author: Peter Langdon ORCID iD
Author: Cath Langdon
Author: Adrian Palmer
Author: Paul Lincoln
Author: Ashley Abrook
Author: Barry Taylor
Author: Chantal Conneller
Author: Alex Bayliss
Author: Alison Macleod
Author: Laura Deeprose
Author: Chris Darvill
Author: Rebecca Kearney
Author: Nancy Beavan
Author: Richard Staff
Author: Michael Bamforth
Author: Maisie Taylor
Author: Nicky Milner

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