Author: Thomas M. Walker with contributions from Rowena Y. Banerjea and C. Rob Batchelor. xiv+194 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (125 colour plates). 406 2018. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784918033. Epublication ISBN 9781784918040. |
Gwithian, on the north coast of Cornwall, is a multiperiod archaeological site. Excavations by Charles Thomas in the mid-twentieth century provided evidence of human activity from the Mesolithic to the post-medieval period. The present work explores the palaeoenvironment of the area around the settlement sites, from the Neolithic, when sand dunes initially developed in the Red River valley, to the present post-industrial landscape. Multiproxy analyses on sediments from coring, a test pit and mollusc columns provide a view of the changing landscape and how it may have influenced, or been influenced by, human presence and settlement. Mollusc studies are used as the principal analytical method. Multiple radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminesce dates permit these changes to be studied on a tighter time frame than was previously possible. Mining activity from the Bronze Age to the present is explored using fine-resolution geochemistry. Dating allows the timing of the extinction and introduction of some mollusc species to be refined.
About the Author
THOMAS WALKER is Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology, University of Reading. After a career in medicine he entered the world of archaeology in retirement, initially studying for a BSc at Reading and then progressing to a PhD. This monograph is based on his PhD thesis, which explored the palaeoenvironment of blown sands in Cornwall, principally at Gwithian.
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