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Later prehistoric woodlands and wood use on the lower Thames floodplain

Stephenson Seel, Sophie Penelope; (2001) Later prehistoric woodlands and wood use on the lower Thames floodplain. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis seeks to illuminate the character of later prehistoric woodlands on the Thames floodplain and their use by contemporary communities. This is achieved by the application of a two-pronged research agenda which examines both non-cultural and cultural waterlogged wood assemblages from east London. The non-cultural data is obtained from the mapping, recording and species identification of 1679 tree trunks, stumps and root systems preserved on the Thames foreshore at Erith in Kent. This research facilitates the characterisation of four temporally distinct woodlands dating from the Later Neolithic through to the Early Iron Age period. Application of ecological and forest stand dynamics models provides a detailed reconstruction of the prehistoric landscape including the species composition, density, canopy height and maturity of the floodplain woodlands. As such, the three-dimensional woodland reconstructions provide the tangible character of the wooded landscape within which prehistoric activity is contextualised. Bronze Age trackway assemblages from Beckton Nursery in Newham and the Thames foreshore at Erith are simultaneously examined. Morphological and tree-ring analysis illuminates the nature of prehistoric wood use on the Thames floodplain, including evidence for tree species selection, woodland management and various woodworking techniques. This information is then placed within the reconstructed wooded landscape to facilitate comparison of the two datasets. It is suggested that the targeting of specific timber resources on the floodplain and the introduction of woodland management regimes linked to animal husbandry characterised woodland use. Furthermore, the contextualisation of the trackway features within the reconstructed landscape enables wider suggestions pertaining to contemporary cultural perceptions of the wooded landscape and alternative interpretations of later prehistoric activity on the floodplain.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Later prehistoric woodlands and wood use on the lower Thames floodplain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by ProQuest.
UCL classification: 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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10149445
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