Archaeologists of earlier generations were often interested exclusively in the artifacts of early man. We have now learned that the geological context in which they are found and the natural objects associated with them are often as important as the artifacts themselves for the reconstruction of the way of life of ancient peoples. The soil itself, in which archaeological objects occur, can, in certain cases, tell us something about the way in which it has been formed and therefore about the environment and habits of the people concerned.
This paper is a small selection from our ‘case-book’ in the Department of Environmental Archaeology of the London University Institute of Archaeology, designed to illustrate some of our methods and giving results from a number of Bronze Age monuments which have been studied during the last few years.
This particular material was chosen because the problems presented by the individual sites are linked, in many cases, by a constantly recurring question as to how the climate of the British Bronze Age differed from that of the present day. The amount of soil evidence now accumulating does point, on the whole, to a Bronze-Age climate characteristically different.