| 2 September 2010
5,000-year-old English landscape discovered
Five thousand years ago, the eastern coast of England, near present day Lincolnshire, was a swamp, inhabited by Bronze Age communities. Now, drained and cultivated, it supports English farms.
But, as the region subsided up to four meteres, it sank below sea level. The peat that had formed from the decaying sea plants washed away to expose a fossilized landscape and remains of human habitation. Scientists from the University of Leicester (UK) have published a study on the region that includes fossilized rivers and creeks called "roddons". Their research, in the Proceedings of the Geologist's Association, seems to indicate that the roddons were clogged suddenly with an influx of sediment from the sea, killing the plant life and preserving it as fossils. Over the centuries, roddons repeatedly formed and then filled with silt.
Dinah Smith, a geologist with the study team explains, "The Fenland roddons provide an eloquent signal of just how precarious environmental conditions are, at the edge of the sea. As climate and sea level are now set to change, it is knowledge of phenomena like these that will help us understand the world of the future."
Also found were remnants of roundhouses, typical of Bronze age settlements in the region.
Source: Science Daily (18 August 2010)
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