• Late Quaternary vegetation history of Craven, Yorkshire Dales.

      Gillmore, Gavin; Taylor, Timothy F.; Lee-Thorp, Julia A.; Swindles, Graeme T.; Rushworth, Garry (University of BradfordDivision of Archaeology, School of Life Sciences, 2014-05-01)
      This thesis investigates new late Quaternary vegetation records from four sites in the Craven District of the Yorkshire Dales. The chosen sites fall along an east-west transect broadly following the line of the south Craven Fault. The rationale for site selection was not based on conventional palynological considerations of potential for rich core samples, rather to provide a range of different locations within a distinct micro-region each existing in some specific proximity to known archaeological features. The logic was to attempt to get beyond broad ¿natural¿ climatological and vegetational inferences to understand the nature and level of potential anthropogenically produced change at a local scale as a sub-set of natural change in a broader regional zone over time. The sites reveal varied vegetation histories from the Late Glacial period to the present day and all show signs of being influenced by changes in their arboreal structure at some time, although no two sites have exactly the same vegetation communities until around 5000 BP when the tree canopy is opened to allow an open grassland to dominate. The results indicate the possibility that Betula values, in particular, might indicate cooling events found in the Greenland ice cores for Greenland Interstadial 1 as well as the Pre-boreal Oscillation and the Holocene 9.3 ka BP Event. Closer chronological control of such values could help to determine whether vegetational dynamics were synchronous with fluctuations in temperature and the speed with which trees respond to severe temperature fluctuations. Various hiatuses identified during analysis of the cores may be caused by human influence on the wetlands, given that archaeological evidence from caves shows human occupation of the Craven area from the late Upper Palaeolithic onwards.
    • Mapping biosphere strontium isotope ratios across major lithological boundaries. A systematic investigation of the major influences on geographic variation in the 87Sr/86Sr composition of bioavailable strontium above the Cretaceous and Jurassic rocks of England.

      Batt, Catherine M.; Heron, Carl P.; Cotton, David E.; Montgomery, Janet; Evans, J.A.; Ander, L.; Warham, Joseph O. (University of BradfordDivision of Archaeological, Geographical and Environmental Sciences (AGES), 2013-02-06)
      Strontium isotope analysis has provided archaeologists with an unprecedented opportunity to study the mobility of humans and animals in the past. However, a lack of systematic environmental baseline data has seriously restricted the full potential of the analytical technique; there is little biosphere data available against which to compare measured skeletal data. This thesis examines the extent to which geographic variation in biosphere 87Sr/86Sr composition can be spatially resolved within the lowland terrain of England, in a geographically and geologically coherent study area. Systematically collected samples of vegetation, stream water and surface soils, including new and archived material have been used. The potential of these sample media to provide reliable estimates of the 87Sr/86Sr composition of bioavailable strontium are evaluated under both high-density and low-density sampling regimes, and against new analyses of local archaeological material. Areas lying south of the Anglian glacial limit, display a pattern of geographic 87Sr/86Sr biosphere variation (0.7080¿0.7105) controlled by solid geology, as demonstrated by high-density biosphere mapping. Data collected at a wider geographic scale, including above superficial deposits, indicate the dominant influence of re-worked local rocks on the biosphere. These methods have enabled a reclassification of the archaeologically important Cretaceous Chalk domain. Analysis of rainwater and other indicators of atmospheric deposition show that, in this setting, local biosphere variation is not significantly perturbed by atmospheric inputs. Time-related data from archaeological cattle and sheep/goat tooth enamel suggest that the modern biosphere data can be used to understand livestock management regimes and that these are more powerful than using an average value from the enamel. A more complete understanding of possible patterns of mobility in a group of humans has been achieved through analysis of material from Winchester and comparison with the Chalk biosphere domain.