Archaeology and Palaeoecology
I finally got my hands on some archaeological samples when I was asked by the Oxford Archaeological Unit to do a preliminary analysis of phytoliths from an archaeological site in the Thames Valley. This work has been published:
HODSON, M. (2002) Phytoliths. Contribution in “Gathering the People, Settling the Land: The Archaeology of a Middle Thames Landscape. Anglo-Saxon to Post-Medieval. By S. Foreman, J. Hiller & D. Petts. (CD ROM section) Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph 14, Oxford Archaeology 2002. David Brown Book Co., Connecticut.
My most recent work on phytoliths has been in collaboration with Prof. Adrian Parker of the Geography Department at Brookes. Phytolith analysis of samples from the archaeological site of Kush, Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates was conducted by Sachiko Ishida as her undergraduate project which we jointly supervised. Kush is the largest Tell (raised archaeological mound) in the Gulf region and was occupied from the 3rd century AD until the 14th century AD (Sasanian to Abbassid periods). The site witnessed the rise of Islam and is thought to be the important site of historic Julfar. Detailed plant macrofossil investigations have been completed following a five year programme of excavation. Phytolith analysis enhanced the plant record from this site and provided important information, especially on the cereal crops utilised. We wrote this work up with the help of Dr. Derek Kennet from Durham University and the result is:
ISHIDA, S., PARKER, A.G., KENNET, D. & HODSON, M.J. (2003) Phytolith analysis from the Archaeological Site of Kush, Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. Quaternary Research 59, 310-321. Abstract
Adrian also asked if I could help him with a palaeoecological investigation in the same area, and several more papers have been published:
PARKER, A.G., ECKERSLEY, L., SMITH, M.M., GOUDIE, A.S., STOKES, S., WARD, S., WHITE, K. & HODSON, M.J. (2004) Holocene vegetation dynamics in the north eastern Rub' al-Khali desert, Arabian Peninsula: a phytolith, pollen and carbon isotope study. Journal of Quaternary Science 19, 665-676.
PARKER, A.G., GOUDIE, A.S., STOKES, S., WHITE K., HODSON, M.J., MANNING, M. & KENNET, D. (2006) A record of Holocene climate change from lake geochemical analyses in southeastern Arabia. Quaternary Research 66, 465-476.
Adrian and I then jointly supervised Gareth Preston for his Ph.D. So far three papers have emerged:
PARKER, A.G., PRESTON, G., WALKINGTON, H. & HODSON, M.J. (2006) Developing a framework of Holocene climatic change and landscape archaeology for the lower Gulf region, southeastern Arabia. Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 17, 125-130.
PRESTON, G.W., PARKER, A.G., WALKINGTON, H., LENG, M.J. & HODSON, M.J. (2012) From nomadic herder-hunters to sedentary farmers: the relationship between climate change and ancient subsistence strategies in South-eastern Arabia. Journal of Arid Environments 86, 122-130. Abstract
PRESTON, G.W., THOMAS, D.S.G., GOUDIE, A.S., ATKINSON, O.A.C., LENG, M.J., HODSON, M.J., WALKINGTON, H., CHARPENTIER, V. MÉRY, S., BORGI, F. & PARKER, A.G. (2015) A multi-proxy analysis of the Holocene humid phase from the United Arab Emirates and its implications for southeast Arabia's Neolithic populations. Quaternary International (in press)