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Holocene alluviation and land-use change on Callaly Moor, Northumberland, England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Passmore, Professor Tony Stevenson


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Archaeological survey and palaeoenvironmental investigations in Coe Burn, Callaly Moor, Northumberland, have examined the chronology and nature of prehistoric and historic land-use change in a small upland river catchment. These studies have revealed an intensively used landscape with evidence of late Neolithic to Bronze Age, medieval and post-medieval land use and settlement. Two episodes of valley floor alluviation are identified and dated to the middle-late Bronze Age and post-medieval periods. Magnetic mineral and geochemical analyses of fine sediments from the older alluvial fill show it to contain a high proportion of topsoil, which is believed to have been produced by soil erosion resulting from Bronze Age tree clearance and cultivation. Deposition of the younger alluvial fill (post AD 1500) was associated with the inwash of relatively unweathered bedrock generated by coal mining in the catchment. It is demonstrated that by integrating archaeological field survey with off-site palaeoenvironmental investigations a much fuller picture of human activity and land-use change has emerged than otherwise would have been the case. Studies of this type may be particularly useful in other upland river catchments where archaeological survival is limited or poor.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Macklin MG, Passmore DG, Stevenson AC, Cowley DC, Edwards DN, O'Brien CF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Quaternary Science

Year: 1991

Volume: 6

Issue: 3

Pages: 225-232

Print publication date: 01/09/1991

ISSN (print): 0267-8179

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1417


DOI: 10.1002/jqs.3390060305


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