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Analysis of a brown earth palaeosol and derived sediments associated with a Mesolithic pit, a Late Neolithic – Early Bronze Age burnt mound and an Early Bronze Age burnt mound on Exmoor, UK

Carey, C; Macphail, R; Bray, L; White, H; Scaife, R; (2021) Analysis of a brown earth palaeosol and derived sediments associated with a Mesolithic pit, a Late Neolithic – Early Bronze Age burnt mound and an Early Bronze Age burnt mound on Exmoor, UK. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports , 35 , Article 102675. 10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102675. Green open access

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Abstract

The deforestation of upland areas in southwest Britain during the mid-Holocene has become an archaeological narrative, derived from the analysis of pollen within upland peat deposits. The transition of these environments from brown earth soils supporting temperate deciduous woodland, into the now familiar podzolic peat mire landscapes is seemingly associated with abandonment of the uplands in late prehistory. The prehistoric archaeological records of these landscapes are rich and significant questions remain unanswered about prehistoric societies and their role in the environmental transition of these upland systems. Despite these rich archaeological records and detailed palaeoecological studies, the geoarchaeological study of the pre-peat sediments has remained somewhat limited. This paper provides the analysis of a Mesolithic heated pit infilled with a brown earth soil, and the pre-monument deposit sequences at two burnt mounds dating to the Late Neolithic – Early Bronze Age. The analysis of these dated sequences provides an increased understanding of these environments prior to the transition of these areas into stagnogley podzols and identifies considerable human impacts, indicating that anthropogenic activities were linked to important processes negatively impacting on soils in these upland areas and contributing to their degradation.

Type: Article
Title: Analysis of a brown earth palaeosol and derived sediments associated with a Mesolithic pit, a Late Neolithic – Early Bronze Age burnt mound and an Early Bronze Age burnt mound on Exmoor, UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102675
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102675
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Brown earth, Palaeosol, Exmoor, Prehistory, Mesolithic, Burnt mound, Colluvium
UCL classification: UCL
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/10122898
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