PhD Geography as Science

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Geog, Politics and Sociology


PhD Geography as Science - Summary to follow


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/W50306X/1 31/03/2021 30/03/2022
2137748 Studentship NE/W50306X/1 30/09/2018 23/06/2022 Louisa Matthews
Description The award funded a PhD to look at the past environment of the Iron Age in Assynt, northwest Scotland UK. Archaeological investigations have shown a substantive Iron Age community existed in Assynt, northwest Scotland in the first century BCE, yet the origins of this community, and the impact it made on the landscape, are not well understood. The palaeoenvironmental context of Iron Age settlement was examined using pollen and geochemical analysis (XRF, carbon and nitrogen content and stable isotope composition) from three loch sediment cores. A 'proximal' core taken adjacent Loch na Claise crannog, tests the viability of using multi-proxy analysis to investigate sites, such as crannogs, that are difficult to excavate.
The three records demonstrate a strong consistency at the local landscape scale. Pollen evidence from two sediment cores taken close to the Iron Age broch at Clachtoll, suggests a period of deforestation in Assynt from the 7th century BCE. Changes in loch geochemistry detected were interpreted as being result of the erosion of nutrient-rich terrestrial material into loch systems, as a result of land-use for farming compounded by deforestation. Clachtoll Broch was destroyed by fire c.0-50 CE, but the building was not reoccupied. The proxy record suggests environmental degradation was not a factor in the decision not to re-occupy the broch.
Exploitation Route It is hoped that the knowledge and skills developed will be taken forward for the purposes of heritage management and for developing skills base in the commercial archaeological sector.
Sectors Culture


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