Investigating the timing and causes of nitrogen cycle changes in Bronze Age Ireland
My project aims to uncover changes in climate and land-management strategies in the Irish Bronze Age using a multi-proxy approach. I will analyse peat and lake sediments from locations of known Bronze Age settlements in Ireland as well as archaeobotanical, zoological, and human remains.
The peat cores will be collected from ombrotrophic bogs, as changes in land-management strategies should not affect them. Comparison with stable isotopic values from lake sediments will help me uncover whether changes in the nitrogen cycle were caused by palaeoclimate changes and/or land-management strategy changes. Other stable isotopes will also be recorded (δ13C and δ18O), and pollen analysis will be performed. Testate amoebae will be counted alongside pollen in peat cores.
Stable nitrogen isotope analyses will be performed on archaeobotanical, zoological, and human remains. Herbivore bone collagen δ15N values reflect several years of dietary intake and hence provide a broader spatio-temporal perspective.
Dr Gill Plunkett, Prof Eileen Murphy, Dr Neil Ogle, and Dr Kate Britton (University of Aberdeen).
Master of Chemistry (MChem) from the University of Aberdeen