Science & Technology

Research investigates habitat circumstances encountered by first farmers and monument-builders — ScienceDaily

Hunter-gatherers made use of open woodland circumstances within the millennia earlier than Stonehenge monuments have been constructed, based on a research printed April 27, 2022 within the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Samuel Hudson of the University of Southampton, U.Okay., and colleagues.

Much analysis has explored Bronze Age and Neolithic historical past of the area surrounding Stonehenge, however much less is thought about earlier occasions on this space. This leaves open questions on how historical folks and wildlife used this area earlier than the well-known archaeological monuments have been constructed. In this paper, Hudson and colleagues reconstruct environmental circumstances on the web site of Blick Mead, a pre-Neolithic hunter-gatherer web site on the sting of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

The authors mix pollen, spores, sedimentary DNA, and animal stays to characterize the pre-Neolithic habitat of the location, inferring partially open woodland circumstances, which might have been helpful to massive grazing herbivores like aurochs, in addition to hunter-gatherer communities. This research helps earlier proof that the Stonehenge area was not coated in closed cover forest at the moment, as has beforehand been proposed.

This research additionally supplies date estimates for human exercise at Blick Mead. Results point out that hunter-gatherers used this web site for 4,000 years up till the time of the earliest recognized farmers and monument-builders within the area, who would even have benefited from the area supplied in open environments. These outcomes point out that the primary farmers and monument-builders within the Stonehenge space encountered open habitats already maintained and utilized by massive grazers and earlier human populations.

Further research on comparable websites will present necessary insights into the interactions between hunter-gatherers and early farming communities within the U.Okay. and elsewhere. Furthermore, this research supplies methods for combining sedimentary DNA, different ecological information, and stratigraphic information to interpret the traditional surroundings at a web site the place such info is troublesome to evaluate.

The authors add: “The Stonehenge World Heritage Site is globally recognized for its rich Neolithic and Bronze Age monumental landscape, but little is known of its significance to Mesolithic populations. Environmental research at Blick Mead suggests that hunter-gatherers had already chosen part of this landscape, an alluvial clearing, as a persistent place for hunting and occupation.”

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