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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Peatland Archaeology and Palaeohydrology, Complexity and Confusion? An Irish Perspective Seminar

11 May 2016
Lecture Theatre B, Building 44

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Nathaniel O'Grady at N.O' .

Event details

This paper considers the unique opportunities offered by Irish peatlands for integrated archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research. It will briefly review previous studies that have considered the relationship between bog surface wetness, human activity, climate change and the peatland archaeological record in Ireland, suggesting that Œtop down¹ approaches can be hampered by a range of methodological as well as theoretical problems. It will argue that attempts to establish meaningful and nuanced correlations between the archaeological record, palaeohydrology and past climate change of necessity require a Œbottom up¹ approach, focusing on local cultural and environmental processes and rooted in an essentially archaeological research paradigm. A case study will be presented demonstrating that any attempt to understand the complex relationship between human activity in peatlands, palaeohydrological data and associated palaeoclimatic inference, requires careful analysis of the chronological and spatial patterns of archaeological site distribution and that failure to incorporate such data may lead to misleading conclusions. The potential for further such studies will be considered.

Speaker information

Dr Ben Gearey, University College Cork. Department of Archaeology

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