Archaeological and palaeoecological evidence relating to human activity in the English Midlands is scant compared to elsewhere in Britain. Knowledge of human activity in pre-Roman and Roman times is often fragmentary and disparate in parts of the region where it could be assumed that the resident population was small with little Roman impact. To examine these contentions, a palaeoenvironmental investigation from Aqualate Mere near Newport, Staffordshire, has been undertaken on the sediment record extending back to c. 1300 cal. BC. An analysis of microfossils, microscopic charcoal, sediment chemistry and mineral magnetism from a core dated by 14C, SCPs, 210Pb and 137Cs has provided an opportunity to reconstruct land use changes and atmospheric pollution from the later prehistoric period onwards. The results challenge the idea this region was a backwater as there is near-continuous agricultural activity around the mere since the Late Bronze Age through to modern times. This is characterised by phases of woodland decline, an intensification of farming, soil erosion, evidence for possible eutrophication and regional lead pollution.
|Number of pages||26|
|Early online date||15 Mar 2023|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2023|
- English Midlands
- vegetation change