Tipping R, Ashmore P, Davies A, Haggart BA, Moir A, Newton A, Sands R, Skinner T & Tisdall E (2007) Peat, pine stumps and people: interactions behind climate, vegetation change and human activity in wetland archaeology at Loch Farlary, northern Scotland. In: Barber J, Clark C, Cressey M, Crone A, Hale A, Henderson J, Housley R, Sands R, Sheridan A & Scottish WAP( (eds.) Archaeology from the Wetlands: Recent Perspectives: Proceedings of the 11th WARP Conference, Edinburgh 2005. WARP Occasional Papers. 11th Annual WARP conference, Edinburgh. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, pp. 157-164. http://www.socantscot.org/partnumber.asp?cid=&pnid=116854
First paragraph: In 1993, a peat-cutter, Bruce Field, working on the blanket peat bank he rented from the Sutherland Estate by Loch Farlary, above Golspie in Sutherland (fig 1), reported to Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland several pieces of pine wood bearing axe marks. Their depth in the peat suggested the cut marks to be prehistoric. This paper summarizes the work undertaken to understand the age and archaeological significance of this find (see also Tipping et al 2001 in press). The pine trees were initially thought to be part of a population that flourished briefly across northern Scotland in the middle of the Holocene period from c 4800 cal BP (Huntley, Daniell & Allen 1997). The subsequent collapse across northernmost Scotland of this population, the pine decline, at around 4200-4000 cal BP is unexplained: climate change has been widely assumed (Dubois & Ferguson 1985; Bridge, Haggart & Lowe 1990; Gear & Huntley 1991) but anthropogenic activity has not been disproved (Birks 1975; Bennett 1995). It was hypothesized that the Farlary find would allow for the first time the direct link between human woodland clearance and the Early Bronze Age pine decline.
; Biological diversity conservation Scotland; Plant diversity Scotland; Plant communities Scotland History; Forests and forestry Scotland; Afforestation Scotland; Scotland Antiquities; Environmental archaeology Scotland