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dc.contributor.authorFarrell, M
dc.contributor.authorBunting, MJ
dc.contributor.authorSturt, F
dc.contributor.authorGrant, M
dc.contributor.authorAalbersberg, G
dc.contributor.authorBatchelor, R
dc.contributor.authorBrown, A
dc.contributor.authorDruce, D
dc.contributor.authorHill, Thomas
dc.contributor.authorHollinrake, A
dc.contributor.authorJones, J
dc.contributor.authorTinsley, H
dc.contributor.authorBayliss, A
dc.contributor.authorMarshall, P
dc.contributor.authorRicher, S
dc.contributor.authorWhittle, A
dc.identifier.citationFarrell, M., Bunting, M.J., Sturt, F. et al. Opening the Woods: Towards a Quantification of Neolithic Clearance Around the Somerset Levels and Moors. J Archaeol Method Theory 27, 271–301 (2020).
dc.description.abstractEnvironmental reconstructions from pollen records collected within archaeological landscapes have traditionally taken a broadly narrative approach, with few attempts made at hypothesis testing or formal assessment of uncertainty. This disjuncture between the traditional interpretive approach to palynological data and the requirement for detailed, locally specific reconstructions of the landscapes in which people lived has arguably hindered closer integration of palaeoecological and archaeological datasets in recent decades. Here we implement a fundamentally different method for reconstructing past land cover from pollen records to the landscapes of and around the Somerset Levels and Moors—the Multiple Scenario Approach (MSA)—to reconstruct land cover for a series of 200-year timeslices covering the period 4200–2000 cal BC. Modelling of both archaeological and sediment chronologies enables the integration of reconstructed changes in land cover with archaeological evidence of contemporary Neolithic human activity. The MSA reconstructions are presented as a series of land cover maps and as graphs of quantitative measures of woodland clearance tracked over time. Our reconstructions provide a more nuanced understanding of the scale and timing of Neolithic clearance than has previously been available from narrative-based interpretations of pollen data. While the archaeological record tends to promote a view of long-term continuity in terms of the persistent building of wooden structures in the wetlands, our new interpretation of the palynological data contributes a more dynamic and varying narrative. Our case study demonstrates the potential for further integration of archaeological and palynological datasets, enabling us to get closer to the landscapes in which people lived.en_US
dc.publisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLCen_US
dc.titleOpening the Woods: Towards a Quantification of Neolithic Clearance Around the Somerset Levels and Moorsen_US
dc.typeJournal Articleen_US
dc.identifier.journalJournal of Archaeological Method and Theoryen_US
dc.identifier.startpage271 - 301en_US
pubs.organisational-group/Natural History Museum
pubs.organisational-group/Natural History Museum/Science Group
pubs.organisational-group/Natural History Museum/Science Group/Earth Sciences
pubs.organisational-group/Natural History Museum/Science Group/Earth Sciences/Economic and Environmental Earth Sciences
pubs.organisational-group/Natural History Museum/Science Group/Functional groups
pubs.organisational-group/Natural History Museum/Science Group/Functional groups/Research
dc.embargoNot knownen_US
elements.import.authorFarrell, Men_US
elements.import.authorBunting, MJen_US
elements.import.authorSturt, Fen_US
elements.import.authorGrant, Men_US
elements.import.authorAalbersberg, Gen_US
elements.import.authorBatchelor, Ren_US
elements.import.authorBrown, Aen_US
elements.import.authorDruce, Den_US
elements.import.authorHill, Ten_US
elements.import.authorHollinrake, Aen_US
elements.import.authorJones, Jen_US
elements.import.authorTinsley, Hen_US
elements.import.authorBayliss, Aen_US
elements.import.authorMarshall, Pen_US
elements.import.authorRicher, Sen_US
elements.import.authorWhittle, Aen_US
dc.description.nhmOpen Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The attached file is the published pdf.en_US
dc.subject.nhmSomerset Levels and Moorsen_US
dc.subject.nhmMultiple Scenario Approachen_US
dc.subject.nhmChronological modellingen_US
dc.subject.nhmLand coveren_US

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