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Land North of Brackenway, Formby Palaeoenvironmental Assessment and Updated Geoarchaeology Report

Mairead, Rutherford (2023) Land North of Brackenway, Formby Palaeoenvironmental Assessment and Updated Geoarchaeology Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology North was commissioned by Taylor Wimpey NW to complete a palaeoenvironmental study within an area of land north of Brackenway, Formby, Merseyside (centred on NGR: SD 30285 08943), in line with a planning condition implemented by Sefton Council (DC/2018/00093, Planning Condition 22). This study entailed: the drilling of two deep and three shallow boreholes; assessing the stratigraphic results derived from these interventions; completing palaeoenvironmental assessment and radiocarbon dating; and using the resulting data to update a previous deposit model for the site developed by Oxford Archaeology North in 2021.
The new stratigraphic data derived from the study largely support the results of the previous deposit model. However, the data also allows for some slight modification to this model, in that deep peat, originally assumed to seal glacial
till, and lie beneath deposits of the Shirdley Hill Sand, is now known to occur at the top of the Shirdley Hill Sand deposits, directly beneath deposits of marine clays and silts, classified as the Downholland Silt. The dating evidence now available from this peat also provides a valuable terminus post quem for the deposition of the Downholland Silt, which is slightly earlier than previously
The organic deposits within the sediment sequence were also discovered to contain some palaeoenvironmental data relevant to landscape evolution during the prehistoric period and into the historic period. This data, comprises pollen,
plant remains, diatoms, foraminifera/ostracoda, and insects, and it relates to a complex mosaic of intertidal, saltmarsh, fen/mire, heather-heath and (probably regionally developed) woodland habitats. Radiocarbon dating places the age of
a lower peat deposit within the middle part of the Mesolithic period, whereas dates obtained from an upper peat deposit suggest an age ranging from early/middle Neolithic, at the base of the deposit, to medieval, at its top. The
pollen, and other palaeoenvironmental proxies, exhibited variable preservation, and although grass and heather charcoal in the lower peat might indicate fire setting of heathlands by humans, there were no clear signals for anthropogenic activity. Indeed, this charcoal could relate to natural burning, or relate to a more generalised and widespread pattern of burning across the Formby area by
human groups, which was not necessarily focused at this particular site. Given these factors, a the depth of the deposits, no further work is recommended.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Merseyside
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology North
Depositing User: barker
Date Deposited: 12 May 2023 10:12
Last Modified: 12 May 2023 10:12
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/7104

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