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    Barnett, C. 2011. The Tilbury Alluvial Sequence and a Submerged Forest of Neolithic Age at 118 Victoria Dock Road, Canning Town, East London. LAMAS 62, 1-15 Archaeological evaluation of a small redevelopment site in Canning Town... more
    Barnett, C. 2011. The Tilbury Alluvial Sequence and a Submerged Forest of Neolithic Age at 118 Victoria Dock Road, Canning Town, East London. LAMAS 62, 1-15

    Archaeological evaluation of a small redevelopment
    site in Canning Town revealed a deep, well-stratified
    Holocene alluvial sequence (the Tilbury Formation)
    to 5.8m depth (-4.75m OD) over Devensian fluvial
    sands and gravels. A thin peat (the lower peat) at
    c.5.5—5.75m depth (-4.45 to -4.7m OD) contained tree
    trunks, some with roots attached. The layer was sampled
    and assessed for plant macrofossils, wood and molluscs
    and was radiocarbon dated to the early Neolithic
    (3940—3700 cal bc), probably relating to the Tilbury
    III regression. Floodplain alder carr and surrounding
    mixed deciduous woodland were inundated in the
    Early Neolithic by Thames flood waters during marine
    transgression and have been preserved in situ as a
    submerged forest. Human activity in the local forest is
    indicated by the presence of wood charcoal and scorched
    snails but no archaeological features or artefacts were
    found.
    The thick overlying sediment sequence contained
    two further main bodies of peat dating to the end of
    the Early Neolithic (3350—3030 cal bc) and Middle
    Bronze Age (1400—1130 cal bc), correlating broadly
    with other Tilbury sequences in London and with
    a shallower peat sequence at Silvertown, where a
    Neolithic trackway was identified. The pollen indicates
    the continuation of dense and relatively undisturbed
    forest for the Neolithic to Middle Bronze Age wetland
    edge landscape. Although long-term settlement of the
    area would not have been feasible due to the fluctuation
    and instability of these wetlands, it is likely that the
    area offered opportunities for economic activities such
    as fishing and fowling.
    Excellent preservation by waterlogging in this deep
    sequence has been demonstrated and archaeological
    evidence in the form of organic remains, eg trackways
    and fishtraps, may be discovered in the area in the
    future.
    Research Interests:
    Our suggestion that agriculture was temporarily abandoned for several centuries throughout much of mainland Britain after 3600 BC has provoked criticism, notably the claim by Bishop (2015) that we have missed continuity in Scotland. We... more
    Our suggestion that agriculture was temporarily abandoned for several centuries throughout much of mainland Britain after 3600 BC has provoked criticism, notably the claim by Bishop (2015) that we have missed continuity in Scotland. We demonstrate that firm evidence for widespread agriculture within the later Neolithic is still unproven. We trace the disappearance of cereals and the associated population collapse to a probable climatic shift that impacted the abundance of rainfall and lowered temperatures, thus affecting the reliability of cereals. Divergent strategies and patterns are identified on the Scottish Islands versus the mainland, which has more in common with England, Wales and Ireland. We argue that climate shocks disrupt existing subsistence patterns, to which varied responses are represented by divergent island and mainland patterns, both in the Late Neolithic and during the Early and Middle Bronze Age. Favourable climates encouraged population growth and subsistence innovation, such as at the start of the Neolithic and in the Beaker period.
    Research Interests:
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