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Council for British Archaeology (2007) CBA Research Reports [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000332
ISBN 0 900312 60 2
Nineteen papers from an interdisciplinary conference held at Reading in December 1975 study the physical basis of the Lowland Zone landscape, its flora and fauna, and the effects of human occupation upon it. The introductory paper by P J Fowler (pp 1-12) considers some of 'Fox's Laws' in the light of newer research, and argues that after the later 2nd millennium BC, because of landscape exploitation and environmental change, it is the Lowland Zone rather than the Highland which demonstrates cultural unity and continuity. Population sizes are also discussed.
Three papers on soils come from: J A Catt (12-20) on the widespread (though patchy) distribution of loess in Britain; Susan Limbrey (21-7) on the changes in quality and distribution of lowland soils due to forest disturbance and increasingly intensive agriculture; and F W Shotton (27-32) on three alluvium sections in the lower Severn-Avon valleys which attest large scale ploughing from about 650 BC onwards.
The study of insects (P J Osborne, 32-4) has given clues to changes from forest to grassland cover M A Robinson (35-43) has used all kinds of biological remains to deduce the contemporary environment of Iron Age and Roman sites on the first gravel terrace of the Thames in Oxfordshire. P C Buckland (43-5) points out that a large increase in the depredations of the grain weevil (Sitophilus granarius L) would arise from the cessation of underground cereal storage after the Roman conquest, perhaps accounting for the considerable extension of arable cultivation during the Roman period. From the literature on Late Glacial and Early Flandrian ungulates Caroline Grigson (46-56) tries to establish which of the larger species were present in each of Zones I-VIIA.
New data on the vegetational history of Norfolk are summarized by R E Sims (57-62), whose modern techniques of pollen analysis on Hockham Mere and Seamere revealed possible evidence of Mesolithic forest clearance.
Molluscan evidence for habitat change in two tufa sites in S Britain is presented by J G Evans, C French & D Leighton (63-75). R M Jacobi (75-85) shows that the density of Meso settlement in Lowland Britain was greater than hitherto supposed; while certain geological conditions were preferred, resources of many different soils were exploited and there is evidence for (eg) manipulation of hazelnut cropping. The Somerset Levels landscape, rich in water wood and pasture, and all the resources they imply, is the subject of J M Coles (86-9) while F A Hibbert (90-5) gives fuller details of their vegetational history by means of an absolute pollen diagram.
Late Neo-BA colonization and land use are considered by R Bradley (95-103) who argues that economic changes began, even before the Beaker arrivals, to encourage expansion of settlement on to secondary soils; this was emphasized and developed during EBA. Ard shares, because of their good survival and information content, are analysed by Sian Rees (103-14) and explained as best fitted to a bow ard; she also considers experimental ard-ploughing and soilmark evidence. H C Bowen (115-23) considers the evidence for 'ranch' boundaries (linear ditches) in Wessex where, with the partial exception of Dorset, they can override 'Celtic' fields and suggest potent authority at work. Many relate to roads and modern parish boundaries; their original appearance (?fences, hedges?) is discussed.
Place-name evidence for man's effect on the Berkshire landscape is Margaret Gelling's subject (123-5). Field evidence for village mobility in Saxon, medieval and later times is discussed by C C Taylor (126-34) with particular reference to Northamptonshire Dr Willy Groenman-van Waateringe's closing paper (135-46) finds for the Neolithic Netherlands a quantity of evidence for people adapting to the landscape they inhabited; she also discusses hedges and other boundary markers.
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