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Title: The environmental context of the mesolithic in central Ireland
Author: McWilliams, A. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 9891
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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During the Mesolithic the lakes and wetlands of central Ireland were a focus for hunter- gatherer activity. The extensive bogs and numerous lakes in the region represent a substantial palaeoenvironmental record. Five wetland sites were the subject of palaeoenvironmental investigation including palynology and mollusc analysis. These sites were selected based on their proximity to known Mesolithic locations. Particular attention was paid to disturbance of woodland cover. These investigations produced a record of regional vegetation and landscape change during the Mesolithic. Corylus-dominated woodland was present in the Midlands prior to the known arrival of Mesolithic groups, while to the south-west Pinus sylvestris was a greater component of the woodland. Openings in the woodland were identified throughout the period becoming more common in the later Mesolithic. Some instances of vegetation disturbance by fire appear to have promoted the expansion of Corylus suggesting possible Mesolithic manipulation of the landscape. However, Corylus does not seem to have always benefitted from openings in the woodland. Non-marine molluscs appear to have spread rapidly along the tributaries of the River Shannon during the early Holocene. Contemporary sediment from a more isolated lake revealed a more limited mollusc fauna.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available