Resolving complexities of pollen data to improve interpretation of past human activity and natural processes

Grant, Michael and Waller, Martyn (2017) Resolving complexities of pollen data to improve interpretation of past human activity and natural processes. In: Williams, M. , Hill, T. , Boomer, I. and Wilkinson, I.P., (eds.) The archaeological and forensic applications of microfossils : a deeper understanding of human history. Bath, U.K. : The Micropalaeontological Society. pp. 103-119. ISBN 9781786203052

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Pollen analysis provides a powerful tool for understanding past human activity and its impact on the environment. This is due to pollen being preserved in a wide range of sedimentary environments and pollen being derived from, and therefore providing a record of, vegetation beyond the sampling location. While the basic premise of pollen analysis has remained constant since the pioneering work of Lennart von Post 100 years ago, methodological approaches for interpretation of pollen records have continued to evolve. Large datasets can now be compiled for identifying and exploring the complexities of pollen data temporally and spatially. Here two Holocene pollen stratigraphic changes in the British Isles are focused upon: the Ulmus and Tilia declines. Methodologies for examining the chronological controls on the timing of these changes and disentangling the processes recorded in pollen data are presented. Of particular note are the complexities of separating human impacts from natural processes in coastal wetland records, which have been one of the main sources of pollen data from lowland England. We argue that it is only by unravelling the complexities of both the chronological and pollen data that extant theories on the interaction between past human activity and vegetation change can be rigorously tested.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing (until 2017) > Centre for Earth and Environmental Science Research
Depositing User: Profile Martyn Waller
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2018 08:33
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2018 08:33

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