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Evidence of wildfire in the British Isles during the Last Glacial- Interglacial Transition; revealing spatiotemporal patterns and controls

Evidence of wildfire in the British Isles during the Last Glacial- Interglacial Transition; revealing spatiotemporal patterns and controls
Evidence of wildfire in the British Isles during the Last Glacial- Interglacial Transition; revealing spatiotemporal patterns and controls
Charcoal records are now widely used to reconstruct past burning activity as there is an increasing global interest in understanding the complex interactions between fire, climate, vegetation and human activity. However, this topic has been relatively overlooked in the British Isles, as the region is generally thought to not support natural burning regimes. Here, for the first time, we present a synthesis of previously published charcoal data for 238 sites and demonstrate the widespread occurrence of charcoal in sediments that span the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT; c. 17-8.3 ka cal. BP) in the British Isles. Analysis is based upon a semi-quantitative analysis of the assembled dataset; the common patterns are identified and are considered in relation to independent reconstructions of climate, vegetation and anthropogenic activity. No causal relationships with vegetation are identified, while charcoal is also prominent during periods when archaeological evidence for human occupation of the British Isles is absent or scarce. Climate is very likely to have controlled the fire regimes during the LGIT. We conclude with ten research priorities to further advance our understanding palaeofire drivers during the Lateglacial-Early Holocene.
9.3 ka event, Charcoal, Early Holocene, Fire, Humans, Late Upper Palaeolithic, Lateglacial, Mesolithic, climate change, radiocarbon 28 29 1.
0016-7878
562-577
Tsakiridou, Margarita
9b9736f6-a88c-44fa-b87c-01fd21381cf5
Hardiman, Mark
c8e5bfdd-676c-4998-b076-080783886a1d
Grant, Michael
56dae074-d54a-4da8-858a-2bf364a5a550
Lincoln, Paul
b59021d6-ec42-4003-9c8a-8a9a5d0643df
Cunningham, Laura
8201f13d-4671-43ab-824b-fba7459f3388
Tsakiridou, Margarita
9b9736f6-a88c-44fa-b87c-01fd21381cf5
Hardiman, Mark
c8e5bfdd-676c-4998-b076-080783886a1d
Grant, Michael
56dae074-d54a-4da8-858a-2bf364a5a550
Lincoln, Paul
b59021d6-ec42-4003-9c8a-8a9a5d0643df
Cunningham, Laura
8201f13d-4671-43ab-824b-fba7459f3388

Tsakiridou, Margarita, Hardiman, Mark, Grant, Michael, Lincoln, Paul and Cunningham, Laura (2020) Evidence of wildfire in the British Isles during the Last Glacial- Interglacial Transition; revealing spatiotemporal patterns and controls. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 131 (5), 562-577. (doi:10.1016/j.pgeola.2020.05.001).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Charcoal records are now widely used to reconstruct past burning activity as there is an increasing global interest in understanding the complex interactions between fire, climate, vegetation and human activity. However, this topic has been relatively overlooked in the British Isles, as the region is generally thought to not support natural burning regimes. Here, for the first time, we present a synthesis of previously published charcoal data for 238 sites and demonstrate the widespread occurrence of charcoal in sediments that span the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT; c. 17-8.3 ka cal. BP) in the British Isles. Analysis is based upon a semi-quantitative analysis of the assembled dataset; the common patterns are identified and are considered in relation to independent reconstructions of climate, vegetation and anthropogenic activity. No causal relationships with vegetation are identified, while charcoal is also prominent during periods when archaeological evidence for human occupation of the British Isles is absent or scarce. Climate is very likely to have controlled the fire regimes during the LGIT. We conclude with ten research priorities to further advance our understanding palaeofire drivers during the Lateglacial-Early Holocene.

Text
PGEOLA-D-19-00109R1 - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 7 May 2022.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 7 May 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 June 2020
Keywords: 9.3 ka event, Charcoal, Early Holocene, Fire, Humans, Late Upper Palaeolithic, Lateglacial, Mesolithic, climate change, radiocarbon 28 29 1.

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441013
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441013
ISSN: 0016-7878
PURE UUID: 26317785-bf08-4176-b635-888da4114b0c
ORCID for Michael Grant: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4766-6913

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 May 2020 16:55
Last modified: 22 Nov 2021 03:06

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Contributors

Author: Margarita Tsakiridou
Author: Mark Hardiman
Author: Michael Grant ORCID iD
Author: Paul Lincoln
Author: Laura Cunningham

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