Phytolith Analysis of Cumbria’s Prehistoric Populations

Poster Session
Date and Time: 
Friday, 12 May, 2017 - 13:00
, Kali - Boston University
, Lisa-Marie - University of Edinburgh
, Clive - University of Edinburgh

This work addresses prehistoric activity and fuel use at the multi-period occupancy site of Williamson’s Moss, Cumbria, England, through phytolith analysis. Microbotanical investigations contribute to the larger Eskmeals Project, a multidisciplinary endeavor exploring Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age populations around the River Esk Estuary. These findings offer comparative and collaborative information to previous pollen analysis regarding activity use and paleoenvironment at Williamson’s Moss. Large quantities of microcharcoal, diatoms, and sponge spicules indicate periods of burning and flooding at the site. Samples derive from a Mesolithic trackway and Bronze Age hearth, offering the potential to examine spatial activity areas, plant utilization regarding fuel use and, due to samples’ contextual origins, effectiveness of phytolith analysis from archived bulk samples. Analysis of phytoliths from British soil is uncommon and one that contributes not only to the field of phytolithology but to a deeper understanding of Williamson’s Moss.