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A multi-proxy study of Holocene lake development, lake settlement and vegetation history in central Ireland

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
DatePublished - Feb 2005
Issue number2
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)147-168
Original languageEnglish


Stratigraphical investigations, geomorphological mapping, and diatom, plant macrofossil and pollen analyses were undertaken in and around two lakes in central Ireland to establish correlations between changes in lake conditions and catchment vegetation throughout the Holocene. Similar investigations of an adjacent mire reveal early Holocene changes in lake level and area. The palaeoecological data show high correlations related to variations in lake depth and area, catchment vegetation type, organic inputs and trophic status. Catchment-scale deforestation is gradual and occurs through the Bronze and the Iron Ages, and the construction of a crannog in the early Medieval period (seventh century AD) appears to be associated with a widespread increase in deforestation and mixed agriculture in the catchment. Both pollen and plant macrofossils suggest that one of the crannogs was used for crop storage in addition to domestic and any other activities. In the early to middle Holocene similarities in the proxy-data appear to be climatically driven through changing lake levels and areal extent whereas the later Holocene record is clearly dominated by anthropogenic changes within the catchment and the construction of crannogs in the lakes. The advantages of combining multi-proxy indicators of lake hydroecology with the vegetation record are illustrated.

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