Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secrets of a vanished English landscape: Geologists examine 5,000-year-old 'fossilized' landscape

Date:
August 18, 2010
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
A team of scientists in the UK has published new research on a fossilized landscape, providing insights into how an ancient environment functioned.

Microfossils in the roddon silts.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Leicester

A team of scientists led by the University of Leicester has published new research on a fossilised landscape, providing insights into how an ancient environment functioned.

Thousands of years ago the English Fenlands, stretching across what is now Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and north Norfolk was a gigantic coastal swamp, not quite land and not quite sea, but inhabited by Bronze Age settlers who hunted and fished amid its fertile waters.

Over the last two centuries, it has been utterly transformed: drained, ploughed and converted into England's most productive farmland. The whole area has subsided by up to four metres, so that much is now below sea level. As this has happened, a thick surface layer of peat has wasted away -- revealing the treasures of a 5,000-year-old 'fossilised' landscape beneath.

These scientific treasures include ancient human constructions such as at Flag Fen -- and also spectacular, perfectly fossilized ancient watercourses. These fossil rivers and creeks (known locally as 'roddons') have been the focus of a study by Dinah Smith of the Geology Department of the University of Leicester and her colleagues, which has just been published in the Proceedings of the Geologists' Association.

The 'roddons' seem to be the key to understanding how this enormous, ancient landscape functioned. The strata within them are full of tiny delicate fossils, which give clues to the environment around them. The 'roddons' themselves seem to have come to a sudden, perhaps catastrophic end, choked with sediment swept in from the sea. As generations of 'roddons' successively appeared and disappeared, so the whole landscape transformed around them.

Dinah Smith said: "The Fenland roddons provide an eloquent signal of just how precarious environmental conditions are, at the edge of the sea. As climate and sea level are now set to change, it is knowledge of phenomena like these that will help us understand the world of the future."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Smith, D.M., Zalasiewicz, J.A., Williams, M., Wilkinson, I.P., Redding, M. and Begg, C. Holocene drainage systems of the English Fenland: roddons and their environmental significance. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 2010; DOI: 10.10106/j.pgeola.2010.06.002

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Secrets of a vanished English landscape: Geologists examine 5,000-year-old 'fossilized' landscape." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817143818.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2010, August 18). Secrets of a vanished English landscape: Geologists examine 5,000-year-old 'fossilized' landscape. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817143818.htm
University of Leicester. "Secrets of a vanished English landscape: Geologists examine 5,000-year-old 'fossilized' landscape." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817143818.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A couple found love letters from World War I in their attic. They were able to deliver them to relatives of the writer of those letters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Explicit Chinese art works dating back centuries go on display in Hong Kong, revealing China's ancient relationship with sex. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) — Parisians and local historians are fighting to save one of the French capital's iconic buildings, the La Samaritaine department store. Duration: 01:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bee Fossils Provide Insight Into Ice Age Environment

Bee Fossils Provide Insight Into Ice Age Environment

Newsy (Apr. 12, 2014) — Archeologists have found many fossils in the La Brea Tar Pits, including those of saber-tooth tigers and mammoths. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins