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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • paleoecology
  • archaeology
  • geochemistry
  • paleobotany
  • landscape
  • Northern Ireland

Index Terms

  • 9335 Geographic Location: Europe
  • 4950 Paleoceanography: Paleoecology
  • 0486 Biogeosciences: Soils/pedology
  • 0402 Biogeosciences: Agricultural systems



A Dynamic Human Socioecology of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Ulster

Tina Thurston

Department of Anthropology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, USA

Gill Plunkett

School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK

Remains of past human activity in Northern Ireland's Bronze Age, Iron Age, Medieval, and Early Modern eras are normally invisible under continuous pasture cover. By combining scientific indicators, archaeological methods, and historical documents, we suggest new ways of understanding “invisible” change throughout this period. Political activity at “royal” sites correlates with increased farming seen in lake core pollen, while soil geochemical mapping reveals normally unseen, undiscovered farming settlements. Such multidisciplinary data indicate that climate and environmental conditions influenced high-level political outcomes in a variety of critical ways, while challenging farmers with unusually difficult livelihood choices.

Citation: Thurston, T., and G. Plunkett (2012), A dynamic human socioecology of prehistoric and protohistoric Ulster, in Climates, Landscapes, and Civilizations, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 198, edited by L. Giosan et al., 177–191, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2012GM001227.


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