Palaeoecological studies on the Rivington Anglezarke uplands, Lancashire

Bain, MG 1991, Palaeoecological studies on the Rivington Anglezarke uplands, Lancashire , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The Rivington Anglezarke uplands, at the western limits of the Rossendale outlier, are an important landscape resource in industrial Lancashire. Scattered ancient monuments and farmstead ruins stimulate enquiry and suggest long-term human influence while expansive species poor vegetation over peat suggests little has changed over long periods of time. This study seeks insight into such observations by investigation of the vegetational history locked in the peat deposits. Pollen analytical and stratigraphic investigations at 10 sites enable a pattern of vegetational development to be proposed for the last 6000 years. Local pollen assemblage zones, described for each site, are supported by numerical methods in the formulation of a regional pollen assemblage zone scheme for the study area. Chronological support is derived from 20 radiocarbon dates obtained on peat samples from 7 of the sites. A further site, providing evidence of vegetational change from 9000 - 5000 years bp, is dated by palynological cross-reference to the Flandrian type site at Red Koss, Horwich (Hibbert ~, 1971). Evidence is presented for the presence of deciduous woodland throughout the Flandrian II period with increasing modification in the first mil1enium of the Flandrian III culminating in widespread expansion of wet heath from about 3200 years bp which persists across summit plateau for some 2700 years. Evidence is presented for recurrent phases of agricultural activity during this period, one well-marked example being of Romano British provenance. Incising cloughs probably remained well wooded during this period and the clearance of flanking woodlands is associated with increasing anthropogenic influence and a final upsurge in agrarian exploitation persisting from Tudor times to the late 19th Century. The present day vegetation is surveyed. Magnetic measurements and heavy metal ( lead ) assays from three sites are discussed in the context of known extractive activity in the study area during recent centuries. Archaeological and historical evidence is reviewed and linked to the pollen analytical evidence in suggesting possible causes of the vegetational changes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2017 15:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 20:41

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