Vegetation change during the Mesolithic and Neolithic on the Mizen Peninsula, Co. Cork, south-west Ireland

Timothy M. Mighall, Scott Timpany, Jeffery J. Blackford, Jim B. Innes, Charlotte E. O'Brien, William O'Brien, Stephan Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Despite being rich in later prehistoric and historic archaeology that includes megalithic monuments, Bronze age copper mines and medieval castles, the Mizen Peninsula, south-west Ireland, has revealed little about its stone age past. Evidence for a Mesolithic presence in SW Ireland is rare and, to date, all archaeological finds of this age in Co. Cork are further north and east of the Mizen Peninsula. However a recent palaeoecological study of pollen, non-pollen palynomorph, plant macrofossil and microscopic charcoal data from a peat bog located near Mount Gabriel has provided evidence for disturbances, characterised by fire disturbance of woodland and exploitation of wetlands, since ca. 8400 years B.P. Two working hypotheses are considered to explain these disturbances: human activity or natural agencies. If the human activity hypothesis is accepted, they represent the first possible evidence of a Mesolithic presence on the Mizen Peninsula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-628
Number of pages12
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Issue number6
Early online date27 Nov 2007
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to Michael O’Connell and an anonymous reviewer for their comments on the manuscript. Stuart Gill and Alison Sandison helped prepare the figures. Thanks to Kevin Edwards for comments and to Lorne Elliott and Steve Turnbull for help with fieldwork. This paper is dedicated in memory of Steve, who died in 2006. JJB and JBI undertook part of this research as recipients of Leverhulme Trust grant LF00128P.


  • pollen
  • non pollen palynomorphs
  • plant macrofossils
  • Mesolithic
  • Mizen Peninsula
  • Ireland
  • North-York-Moors
  • late-holocene
  • Netherlands
  • sediments
  • deposit
  • period
  • fungi
  • bog


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