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Study Group Meeting – November 4th (London)

5 November 2010

A write-up of the talk given by David Salkeld will duly appear in SIS Workshop – but a couple of other points were also discussed. Steve Mitchell, a landscape archaeologist, passed around some graphs showing the literal affects of the Shannon sea level curve … at around 4000BC. Britain would still have been joined to the continent in the SE. This means that Neolithic farmers could have entered the British Isles by a land route, fanning out in all directions once they reached the Thames Valley. This factor ties in perfectly with recent recalibration results of C14 dates produced by archaeologists over the years. Using the new Bayesian methodology it has been shown that the Neolithic spread throughout Britain happened in a very rapid manner as the dates cluster between 4250 and 3750BC, from SE England to as far as Scotland, and even as far as Ireland. This does not of course preclude colonisation by farmers following the coastlands of NW Europe as well – the dominant route as far as Ireland and western Britain is concerned. It does suggest that lowland England and Scotland have a direct link to farming communities on the continent during the fifth millennium BC. In fact, this seems to suggest the low growth tree ring event around 4250BC may have played a role (see M Baillie, A Slice Through Time: Dendrochronology and Precision Dating, Batsford:1995). We know that long distant migrations took place at other low growth tree ring events, some of which have been described by Moe Mandelkehr in a succession of SIS articles.

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