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Late glacial palaeoclimate investigations at King Arthur’s Cave and Sun Hole Cave.

Reade, H; Holloran, F; Tripp, J; Charlton, S; Jourdan, A-L; Stevens, R; (2020) Late glacial palaeoclimate investigations at King Arthur’s Cave and Sun Hole Cave. In: University of Bristol Spelaeological Society: Bristol. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

King Arthur’s Cave (Wye Valley) and Sun Hole Cave (Cheddar Gorge) currently provide the earliest dates for a human presence in the British Isles after the Last Glacial Maximum. The earliest phase of activity at these sites has been dated to c. 15.2 to 14.6 thousand years cal. BP, which spans the onset of the Late Glacial Interstadial, a major global climate transition characterised by rapidly warming temperatures. Here we present stable isotope data from horse (Equus ferus) teeth found in the zooarchaeological assemblages at the sites. We also report two new radiocarbon dates on specimens from King Arthur’s Cave. The Equus tooth enamel provides a record of climatic conditions during the animals’ tooth formation. Evidence of human modification of the teeth (cut marks and fractures) chronologically tie these palaeoclimatic records to the earliest post-LGM archaeology at the two sites, thus informing on the climatic and environmental context under which human activity in these areas took place. Results indicate that people were present at the two sites during a period of climatic warming, with temperatures perhaps only marginally colder than present day conditions. However, suboptimal environmental conditions are suggested and may indicate changing vegetation dynamics within the local landscape.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Late glacial palaeoclimate investigations at King Arthur’s Cave and Sun Hole Cave.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://ubss.org.uk/proceedings.php
Language: English
Additional information: The version uploaded is a preprint and re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084184
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