Post-glacial vegetational history of the Oxford region


  • S. P. DAY

    1. Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK
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      The McDonald Institute For Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, 62 Sidney Street, Cambridge CB2 3JW, UK


The results of pollen, sedimentological, magnetic susceptibility and charcoal particle analysis of two radiocarbon-dated sequences of organic deposits from the Oxford region are presented. The record from one of the sites, Cothill Fen, extends from c. 10000 to c. 6500 BP, while that from the other site, Sidlings Copse, covers the period from c. 9500 BP to the present.

The post-glacial landscape was initially open, with some Betula and Pinus sylvestris woodland. At Cothill Fen, Corylus avellana populations began to expand at c. 9400 BP, followed by Ulmus at c. 9100 BP, Quercus at c. 8800 BP, and Tilia cordata and Alnus glutinosa at c. 6800 BP. T. cordata probably became dominant on well-drained soils in the region. At Sidlings Copse, P. sylvestris declined as populations of Quercus and Ulmus expanded, but P. sylvestris persisted around Cothill Fen until t. 7700 BP, perhaps connected with human disturbance of the vegetation.

The Ulmus decline at Sidlings Copse is suggested to have resulted from a combination of disease and exploitation of leaf-fodder, with no major clearance until c. 3800 BP. By c. 3 700 BP no woodland remained around the site, but local regeneration began at c. 1000 BP.