Report number: 18/1991

Summary Three peat cores and one buried soil profile were subjected to pollen analysis. The three peat cores overlapped temporally and were correlated by radiocarbon dating and a computer program, SLOTSEQ. The peat cores gave a record of vegetation history of the site from Mesolithic to possibly Medieval times. No chronology was obtained for the soil profile and it was suggested that it revealed fairly recent events. Although no artefacts later than Neolithic were found during excavation, pollen analysis revealed that Lismore Fields had been continuously exploited by man since the Mesolithic period. By about 6000 bp, Neolithic settlers were engaged in a mixed economy and were responsible for progressive clearance of the woodland. The site has possibly the earliest record for cereal cultivation so far found in the British Isles. Early Bronze Age peoples had a very dramatic effect on the local vegetation and continued exploitation appears to have resulted in soil impoverishment and partial abandonment in the Late Bronze Age. The area was occupied again early in the Iron Age and pastoralists were responsible for extensive woodland clearance. The Roman invasion resulted in wholesale deforestation in the region, cereal growing was enhanced, and extensive weedy pastures maintained. There was tentative evidence of relaxation of land management in the Dark Ages.
Series AML Reports (New Series)
Pages 44
  • Wiltshire, P E J
Keywords Plant Remains ,  Pollen