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ERC Postglacial

High Resolution Palaeoclimate Reconstruction and Hunter-Gatherer Lifeway’s

Researchers at Royal Holloway are leading members of the past environmental reconstruction for a major ERC funded research project POSTGLACIAL (Postglacial hunter-gatherer lifeways). This project is based on understanding human adaptation to climatic environmental change at the end of the last ice age and is led by archaeologists at the University of York (Prof. N. Milner, PI.) The RHUL contribution to this project is to lead the palaeoclimate reconstruction for human occupation of the region from the retreat of the ice sheets around 22,000 years ago through a series of abrupt climatic transitions that culminate in more stable environmental conditions during the mid-Holocene. This is via high-resolution analyses of palaeo-lake records from former Lake Flixton near the internationally important Mesolithic site of Star Carr, Yorkshire.

Lake sediments preserved below agricultural fields near the site preserve very high quality archives of abrupt climate change, covering roughly 16,000-8,000 BP with very long depositional sequences over key periods of climatic transition. These are now being studied by RHUL staff and students for Oxygen isotopes, chemical stratigraphy, pollen, tephra, micromorphology, micro-xrf scanning, and extensive radiocarbon dating. The results reveal a dynamic local system that for a brief period is ideal for human occupation but also an important long term record of climate change for the North Atlantic region.

This is a major collaboration between palaeoclimate scientists at RHUL and Southampton and archaeologists at York, Manchester and Chester. The RHUL expertise provides key scientific underpinning for the palaeoclimate work but also through our track record on integrating archaeology and palaeoclimate records (NERC funded RESET project and the Leverhulme funded AHOB project). We provide the key interface for studying the impact of abrupt late Quaternary climate change on human groups in the early Postglacial world. Key questions include the impact of the Younger Dryas, Pre-Boreal Oscillation, 9.3BP and 8.2BP cold reversals on human groups re-colonising Northwest Europe after the Last Glacial maximum.

Royal Holloway POSTGLACIAL Team members

Simon Blockley, Ian Matthews, Ian Candy, Adrian Palmer, Paul Lincoln, Rhys Timms, Alison MacLeod, Danielle Schreve, Katy Flowers.

Recent team members

Amanda Farry, Chris Darvill, Rebecca Kearney, Nick Farley, Laura Deeprose

Project website













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