|Appears in Collections:||Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles|
|Peer Review Status:||Refereed|
|Title:||Use and abandonment of a Neolithic field system at Belderrig, Co. Mayo, Ireland: Evidence for economic marginality|
|Citation:||Tipping R & Verrill L (2010) Use and abandonment of a Neolithic field system at Belderrig, Co. Mayo, Ireland: Evidence for economic marginality, Holocene, 20 (7), pp. 1011-1021.|
|Abstract:||This paper presents evidence for the nature of early and middle Neolithic farming activity, its impact upon the landscape and environment, and its vulnerability to climatic change, at a sub-peat field system at Belderg Beg, North Co. Mayo, Ireland. Pollen analyses of a 14C dated peat deposit close to the field system indicates that basin peat accumulated from c. 5590 to 5330 cal. BP, probably triggered by farming activities. The palynological evidence indicates that the field system was constructed for pastoral farming, surrounded by woodland. Sediment-stratigraphic analyses show that the soil in the field system was subject to significant erosion, which may have been a causal factor in the local cessation of agriculture in the late sixth millennium cal. BP. Peat humification analyses indicate that surface wetness was greatest at c. 4940 cal. BP, several centuries after abandonment of the field system, coincident in age with evidence for higher precipitation from other sites in North Mayo. Comparison with other records of early and mid-Neolithic agricultural activity and abandonment in the region suggests that the well-recognised mid-Neolithic agricultural decline occurred in the broad context of a shift to a more oceanic climate, but that local factors such as soil quality may have been more important in the exact timing of local agricultural abandonment.|
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