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Geoarchaeology and archaeological landscapes in the Till River valley, northern England

David G. Passmore, Clive Waddington, Tim van der Schriek, Basil Davis, Emma Tetlow, David Smith and Jacqui Cotton
Geoarchaeology and archaeological landscapes in the Till River valley, northern England (in Geoarchaeology, climate change, and sustainability, Antony G. Brown, Laura S. Basell and Karl W. Butzer)
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (April 2011) 476: 117-133


This paper presents an overview of the Till-Tweed project, an Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund-sponsored geoarchaeological assessment of archaeological and paleoenvironmental records in a major northern UK river basin. The project methodology employed a suite of geomorphological, paleoecological, and archaeological techniques to identify, define, and delimit landform, sediment, and archaeological associations over 358 km (super 2) of the Till and lower Tweed Valleys. These associations were integrated in a geographic information system (GIS), establishing a baseline audit of the heritage resource that is driving the development of both heritage management and research frameworks in these river valley settings. Particular attention is paid to the new perspectives on landscape development, land use, and settlement that are being derived from analysis of associations between landforms, paleoenvironmental records, and enhanced archaeological data sets. The utility of this approach is illustrated by a case study of the Breamish-Till River at New Bewick, near Powburn, Northumberland. This landscape exhibits a wide range of documented archaeological records, including upstanding monuments, crop marks, and lithic scatters, as well as the potential for alluvial burial of remains that have yet to be discovered. Elements of particular interest are extensive areas of terraced sand and gravel associated with late Devensian deglaciation that are shown to host persistent, multiperiod occupation dating from the Mesolithic period. Numerous infilled kettle holes in these surfaces offer the prospect of long paleoenvironmental records, while paleochannel fills preserved on the adjacent Holocene alluvial valley floor have been shown to locally date from the fourth millennium B.C. and have yielded paleo-ecological evidence of episodic Anglo-Saxon and later woodland clearance, pastoral activities, and cereal cultivation in the immediate vicinity of the archaeological sites. We conclude that the integration of these geoarchaeological data sets into a GIS platform not only brings clear practical benefits to heritage managers and developers, but constitutes a valuable research tool by permitting more sophisticated and systematic analyses of links between the modern landscape, the environmental record, and the archaeological data set.

ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 476
Title: Geoarchaeology and archaeological landscapes in the Till River valley, northern England
Title: Geoarchaeology, climate change, and sustainability
Author(s): Passmore, David G.Waddington, Clivevan der Schriek, TimDavis, BasilTetlow, EmmaSmith, DavidCotton, Jacqui
Author(s): Brown, Antony G.
Author(s): Basell, Laura S.
Author(s): Butzer, Karl W.
Affiliation: University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Affiliation: Palaeoecology Laboratory University of Southampton, School of Geography, Southampton, United Kingdom
Pages: 117-133
Published: 201104
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 9780813724768
Meeting name: Geoarchaeology 2006
Meeting location: Exeter, GBR, United Kingdom
Meeting date: 20060910Sept. 10-13, 2006
References: 85
Accession Number: 2011-062846
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables
N55°19'60" - N55°40'00", W02°00'00" - W01°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Texas at Austin, USA, United StatesEcole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, CHE, SwitzerlandUniversity of Birmingham, GBR, United KingdomEnvironmental Agency, GBR, United Kingdom
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201135
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