Investigating Past Environments

Three successful peat workshops took place throughout June and July 2012, organised by Liza Kavanagh. Liza was studying for an MSc in Scientific Methods at the Division of Archaeological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bradford, where she was researching the benefits of community involvement to archaeological scientific research.

Following a presentation on palaeoenvironmental studies (the study of past environments), participants from The National Trust (Marsden Moor), South Pennines Archaeology Network, and Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society met at White Moss on Marsden Moor. Here, specialists from the Centre for Environmental Change and Quaternary Research, University of Gloucestershire instructed participants in taking peat cores using a Russian corer, how to record  them, and to store them.

The following week, the workshop moved to the Division of Archaeological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bradford where Julia Mccarroll (PhD student, Centre for Environmental Change and Quaternary Research, University of Gloucestershire) introduced participants to identifying pollen and plant macrofossils. A variety of species were identified including hazel and birch pollen.

Although the workshops did not provide qualitative data concerning the past environment of White Moss, the participants were able to gain first-hand experience of the processes involved in analysing peat, and gain an appreciation of its importance.

Thank you to Liza for organising these workshops, and to Julia and her colleagues at the University of Gloucestershire for their specialist input.