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Title: Early-mid Holocene environmental change and human impact around the Inner Sound, Scotland
Author: Green, F. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 8104
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2005
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The islands and shores of the Inner Sound in the northwest of Scotland were perceived as potentially supporting human settlement during the Mesolithic Period (c. 10000-5500 BP) and subsequent survey and excavation unearthed considerable evidence of hunter-gatherer activity dating to this time. These discoveries precipitated the present study, which aims to provide an environmental background to the inferred Mesolithic populations, while seeking to detect any perturbations in the environmental record that could be ascribed to human interference. To this end, bog and lake sediments were removed from suitable locations for further analysis in the laboratory. Pollen and microscopic charcoal analyses form the backbone of the investigation, which also includes loss on ignition and sedimentological analyses, and radiocarbon dating. Environmental reconstruction using these data supports the current theory that this region hosted a rich variety of woodland habitats during the early Holocene, with geology and exposure exerting the greatest control on spatial and physiognomic variability. Close resolution pollen sampling of a loch in northern Skye provides useful insights into plant colonisation after the Loch Lomond Stadial, and is also used to detect climatic perturbations dating from c. 9500-9200 BP previously unidentified in pollen profiles from Scotland. The possibility of Mesolithic human impact is detected at two small peatland sites in northern Skye, where hydrological and floristic changes in concert with significant levels of microscopic charcoal strongly suggest a human presence. The strong evidence for increased human activity after c. 5000 BP, particularly burning and woodland clearance, contrasts sharply with the pollen profile representing the Mesolithic Period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available