British palaeoclimates and palaeoenvironments during the Hoxnian interglacial (Marine Isotope Stage 11).
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The Hoxnian interglacial can be correlated with Marine Isotope Stage 11 (MIS 11), which is one of the most significant interglacials in the Pleistocene. MIS 11 is widely believed to be an analogue for the current interglacial, making it a focus of particular interest in the palaeoclimatological community. Britain has numerous valuable terrestrial records for this period and with its location next to the Atlantic can play an important role in elucidating the climatic changes of this interval. However, in recent years relatively little work has been undertaken on the Hoxnian. This thesis fills this important gap with new pollen data and the use of pre-existing pollen records to provide a fresh perspective on the palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment of the period. In particular pollen based quantitative palaeoclimate reconstructions are performed: the first for Britain and one of very few anywhere for this time period. The palaeoclimate reconstructions reveal important features of Middle Pleistocene climate, including the occurrence of significant seasonality, abrupt climate change and spatial heterogeneity. The reconstructions are related to other records from MIS 11 to build up a rich picture of the climate changes of this interval and the relationship between Britain and Europe and beyond. In addition to the palaeoclimate reconstructions, new palaeofire and palaeoecological data are presented in order to construct a full and rounded narrative of Hoxnian palaeoenvironments. Finally, these various insights are combined in order to shed light on the significant archaeological record of this time, demonstrating the significant environmental obstacles that early hominids would have to have overcome in order to survive in Hoxnian Britain.
AuthorsForden, Stephen J.
- Theses