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Mandatory Fields
O'Connell, M.; Ghilardi, B.; Morrison, L.
Quaternary Research
A 7000-year record of environmental change, including early farming impact, based on lake-sediment geochemistry and pollen data from Co. Sligo, western Ireland
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palaeoecology geochemistry Sligo Ireland Neolithic Human impact
Detailed, chronologically tightly constrained, lake-sediment-based geochemical and pollen records have enabled local changes in soil erosion, woodland cover and composition, and prehistoric farming impact to be reconstructed in considerable detail. The profile opens shortly after 7800 BC when tall canopy trees are well established and presumably in equilibrium with their environment. A distinct perturbation that involved an increase in pine and birch, a decrease in oak and a minor opening-up of the woodland is regarded as the local expression of the 8.2 ka climate anomaly. Lack of response in the geochemical erosional indicators is interpreted as evidence for drier conditions. A short-lived, over-compensation in climate recovery followed the 8.2 ka event. Neolithic farming impact is clearly expressed in both the pollen and geochemical data. Both datasets indicate that Neolithic impact was concentrated in the early Neolithic (37153440 BC). In the interval 30002700 BC there appears to have been a break in farming activity. The pollen data suggest substantially increased farming impact (both arable and pastoral) in the Bronze Age, with maximum farming and woodland clearances taking place in the late Bronze Age (1155935 BC). These developments, however, are rather poorly expressed in the geochemical record, possibly due to within-lake changes.
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