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An analysis of two upland organic profiles from the later mesolithic

Rand, Julia Irene (1986) An analysis of two upland organic profiles from the later mesolithic. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Two peat profiles have been examined from upland sites In England at Blacklane Brook, Dartmoor and Dozmary Pool, Bodmin Moor. The techniques employed Include pollen analysis, estimation of relative amounts of charcoal present and radiocarbon dating. Both sites have been subject to previous less detailed palaeoecological investigations which gave indications of fluctuations in the extent of open vegetation during prehistory. The aim of the study is to test the hypothesis that upland vegetation changes were taking place during the Later Mesolithic period which could be attributed to the activities of man. The results from the radiocarbon dated profile at Blacklane Brook show that during this period irregular increases in the proportions of taxa indicative of open ground took place associated with decreases in tree and shrub species representation. Charcoal is present within the profile indicating that burning may have been the cause of the observed decreases in woody vegetation. The link between vegetational changes and the purposeful use of fire by man is conjectural. However, the possible reasons for such a practice are discussed. Inversions in the sequence of radiocarbon dates at Dozmary Pool suggest profile disturbance and/or discontinuities. Assuming that the part of the profile covered by the Later Mesolithic is undisturbed it gives evidence of fluctuating areas of open vegetation, again accompanied by charcoal within the profile. The limitations of the techniques employed are considered in the light of the implications these have for the Interpretations drawn. The future of studies within the field of vegetation history Is thought to require refinements in the degree of resolution of the technique of vegetation reconstruction accompanied by greater attention being devoted to the statistical and sampling problems of pollen analysis.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:1986
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:49

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