Seeing the wood for the trees: Recent advances in the reconstruction of woodland in archaeological landscapes using pollen data

M. Jane Bunting, Michelle Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Pollen sequences record the vegetation cover of past landscapes, but translating a pollen diagram into a landscape reconstruction is not straightforward. This paper reviews recent advances in the reconstruction of woodland cover from palynological data and shows how they have been used to address three archaeologically relevant problems:  The detection of woodland presence and extent in a largely open landscape  The reconstruction of the habitat context of a specific archaeological site  The detection of woodland management Pollen surface samples which can be directly related to contemporary vegetation cover are shown to be useful both in their own right and as the basis for calibration of models of pollen dispersal and deposition. These models can be used as a foundation for quantitative reconstruction of past landscapes, for example using the Multiple Scenario Approach, or as a tool for construction and testing of hypotheses and to inform selection of coring sites. We argue that surface sample studies and simulation approaches are improving the scientific basis of reconstruction of past landscapes, and that these approaches offer new opportunities forcommunication and collaboration between archaeologists and environmental specialists. Publisher Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology on 27th September 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14614103.2017.1377405
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-239
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology
Volume23
Issue number3
Early online date27 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2018

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woodland
reconstruction
pollen
vegetation cover
paleoecology
archaeology
habitat
diagram
Wood
Archaeological Landscape
Woodland
Pollen
scenario
calibration
simulation
detection
Vegetation

Keywords

  • coppicing
  • cultural landscapes
  • environmental archaeology
  • palynology
  • simulation
  • woodland

Cite this

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title = "Seeing the wood for the trees: Recent advances in the reconstruction of woodland in archaeological landscapes using pollen data",
abstract = "Pollen sequences record the vegetation cover of past landscapes, but translating a pollen diagram into a landscape reconstruction is not straightforward. This paper reviews recent advances in the reconstruction of woodland cover from palynological data and shows how they have been used to address three archaeologically relevant problems:  The detection of woodland presence and extent in a largely open landscape  The reconstruction of the habitat context of a specific archaeological site  The detection of woodland management Pollen surface samples which can be directly related to contemporary vegetation cover are shown to be useful both in their own right and as the basis for calibration of models of pollen dispersal and deposition. These models can be used as a foundation for quantitative reconstruction of past landscapes, for example using the Multiple Scenario Approach, or as a tool for construction and testing of hypotheses and to inform selection of coring sites. We argue that surface sample studies and simulation approaches are improving the scientific basis of reconstruction of past landscapes, and that these approaches offer new opportunities forcommunication and collaboration between archaeologists and environmental specialists. Publisher Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology on 27th September 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14614103.2017.1377405",
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N2 - Pollen sequences record the vegetation cover of past landscapes, but translating a pollen diagram into a landscape reconstruction is not straightforward. This paper reviews recent advances in the reconstruction of woodland cover from palynological data and shows how they have been used to address three archaeologically relevant problems:  The detection of woodland presence and extent in a largely open landscape  The reconstruction of the habitat context of a specific archaeological site  The detection of woodland management Pollen surface samples which can be directly related to contemporary vegetation cover are shown to be useful both in their own right and as the basis for calibration of models of pollen dispersal and deposition. These models can be used as a foundation for quantitative reconstruction of past landscapes, for example using the Multiple Scenario Approach, or as a tool for construction and testing of hypotheses and to inform selection of coring sites. We argue that surface sample studies and simulation approaches are improving the scientific basis of reconstruction of past landscapes, and that these approaches offer new opportunities forcommunication and collaboration between archaeologists and environmental specialists. Publisher Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology on 27th September 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14614103.2017.1377405

AB - Pollen sequences record the vegetation cover of past landscapes, but translating a pollen diagram into a landscape reconstruction is not straightforward. This paper reviews recent advances in the reconstruction of woodland cover from palynological data and shows how they have been used to address three archaeologically relevant problems:  The detection of woodland presence and extent in a largely open landscape  The reconstruction of the habitat context of a specific archaeological site  The detection of woodland management Pollen surface samples which can be directly related to contemporary vegetation cover are shown to be useful both in their own right and as the basis for calibration of models of pollen dispersal and deposition. These models can be used as a foundation for quantitative reconstruction of past landscapes, for example using the Multiple Scenario Approach, or as a tool for construction and testing of hypotheses and to inform selection of coring sites. We argue that surface sample studies and simulation approaches are improving the scientific basis of reconstruction of past landscapes, and that these approaches offer new opportunities forcommunication and collaboration between archaeologists and environmental specialists. Publisher Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology on 27th September 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14614103.2017.1377405

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