Edwards, K. J., Whittington, G. and Ritchie, W. (2005). The possible role of humans in the early stages of machair evolution:. J Archaeol Sci 32 (3). Vol 32(3), pp. 435-449.

Title
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Title:
The possible role of humans in the early stages of machair evolution:
Subtitle
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Subtitle:
palaeoenvironmental investigations in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland
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Issue:
J Archaeol Sci 32 (3)
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Series:
Journal of Archaeological Science
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Volume:
32 (3)
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Page Start/End:
435 - 449
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Abstract
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Low altitude sandy plains (machair) are a distinctive feature of the Atlantic coasts of the Scottish Outer Hebrides. They formed as a result of shoreward movement of sediment consequent upon a rise in Holocene sea levels. During the long period over which machair has been forming, the earliest date proposed for their human occupation is the Neolithic. The natural origins of the machair are not disputed, but examination of deposits at sites in the islands of Benbecula and Grimsay encourages the authors to advance a possible anthropogenic role in the process of machair development, and also to suggest that human involvement may date from the Mesolithic period (pre-5000 BP [ca. 5730 cal BP]), a time for which archaeological evidence is lacking from the Outer Hebrides. They also argue that the presence of charcoal might suggest that burning of the vegetation cover of the machair was an additional factor to the supposedly dominant marine and aeolian processes in sand mobility, and that removal of shrub vegetation may also have left sand surfaces open to deflation. There remains a difficulty in separating natural from human causes in investigations of long-term coastal evolution.
Author
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Author:
Kevin J Edwards
Graeme Whittington
William Ritchie
Year of Publication
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Year of Publication:
2005
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Subjects / Periods:
Mesolithic (MIDAS)
Charcoal (Auto Detected Subject))
Neolithic (MIDAS)
Holocene (Auto Detected Temporal)
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BIAB (The British & Irish Archaeological Bibliography (BIAB))
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URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03054403
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27 Jun 2005