The Holocene: An Environmental History / Edition 2

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Completely revised and updated, the new edition of this established text provides readers with a coherent scientific account of the great transformation of nature which took place during the last 10,000 years in the history of the planet, and the post-glacial period in which we are now living. It now includes substantial material on environmental and climate changes. Illustrations. Photos.
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Editorial Reviews

Draws on both the natural and human sciences. Written for undergraduate students in geography, archaeology, environmental science and ecology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
“The text makes enjoyable reading, and although the author introduces many technical terms, they are all covered in a glossary at the end and included in the index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.” (Choice, 1 October 2014)

“This excellent book should be mandatory reading for any student taking a palaeobased environmental change module, and academics will also very much enjoy reading Neil Roberts’ fine prose.” (The Holocene, 1 October 2014)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631186380
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Roberts is Professor of Geography at Plymouth University in the UK and has been Visiting Senior Researcher at Stanford University, CA. His main research interests are in Holocene environmental change, especially lake sediment records of climate and human impact in Mediterranean regions. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and served on the US National Academies Committee on climate changes of the last 2,000 Years.

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Table of Contents

List of Technical Boxes
Preface to the Second Edition
1 Introduction 1
2 Reconstructing Holocene Environments 8
Dating the Past 9
Palaeoecological Techniques 28
Geological Techniques 40
Models of Environmental Reconstruction 51
3 The Pleistocene Prelude (>11,500 Cal. yr BP) 55
Ice-age Environments 56
The Terminal Pleistocene (16,000-11,500 Cal. yr BP) 68
Human Ecology at the End of the Pleistocene 78
4 Early Holocene Adaptations (11,500-5000 Cal. yr BP) 87
Changes in the Physical Environment 88
The Return of the Forests 99
The Ecology of Mesolithic Europe 109
The Early Holocene in the Tropics 112
Early Holocene Climates: Pattern and Process 117
5 The First Farmers 127
Agricultural Origins 128
The Role of Environmental Change in Early Agriculture 142
Early Agricultural Impacts 150
6 The Taming of Nature (5000-500 Cal. yr BP) 159
Changes in the Natural Environment 162
Cultural Evolution 171
Expansion at the Periphery 179
Mediterranean Ecosystems 186
The Making of the Landscape: the British Isles 192
7 The Impact of Modern Times (500-0 Cal. yr BP) 207
Climatic Changes in Historical Times 212
Land-use History and Soil Erosion 216
Pollution Histories 227
8 The Environmental Future: A Holocene Perspective 243
Holocene Environmental Crises 247
Environmental Conservation and Holocene History 249
Appendix Calibration Table for Radiocarbon Ages 253
Glossary 254
Bibliography 258
Index 305
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