An environmental history of Great Britain: from 10,000 years by Ian G Simmons

By Ian G Simmons

It is a historical past of our environment in England, Wales, and Scotland, and of the interactions of individuals, position, and nature because the final ice sheet withdrew a few 10000 years in the past. it's fascinated by the altering cultures (in the entire anthropological experience) of the peoples inhabiting Britain in addition to with the surroundings they remodeled, exploited, abused, and loved.

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Precipitation was subject to variation. The early Hypsithermal may have had rainfall totals of about 110 per cent of today’s and the period from 6500 BP onwards seems to be one of rising water-tables and of peat growth. Glaciation leaves bodies of still water behind. Large but shallow pro-glacial lakes are one form, small but deep kettleholes another. As climate gets warmer, lakes become colonised with rings of vegetation whose dead material gradually fills up the water body, with the vegetation zones moving inwards until the lake may eventually disappear.

The trees, however, had to migrate from the continental refuges they had occupied during that long winter. So their arrival depended upon such factors as the location of the refuge on the continent, the rate of dispersal of viable seeds, the suitability of the receiving habitat and obstacles to their spread. 6 But insulation means that the British flora and fauna tend to have fewer species than their continental equivalents: there is only one native species of coniferous forest tree for example: the Scots Pine.

It has to be assumed that fire could be used and controlled away from the hearth and that devices such as pits and nets could be constructed. So the tool kit in essence consisted of fire, the means to capture and/or kill animals up to the size of Bos primigenius, coupled with ways of gathering plant material. Tree-felling? It can be asked whether the tool kit of the later Mesolithic communities allowed them to fell trees of a substantial size. Assuming that the oaks were mature trees, then a tree typically 36 m high with a single straight trunk that had little branching below 25 m would have to have been tackled.

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