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12 Septiembre 2005

Sunken forest in loch adds to tree of knowledge

MARTIN WILLIAMS

The Herald (Reino Unido) [Crónica]

ONE of the earliest remains of Scotland's natural native woodland has been found under six feet of water.

Archaeologists working in Loch Tay, Perthshire, have discovered the remains of a drowned forest and say it dates from the neolithic period, about 5000 years ago.

Preliminary surveys in the loch carried out by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology (STUA) have identified up to 40 well-preserved fallen oak and elm trees, as well as a series of upright oak trunks embedded in gravel and silt.
Many of the fallen trees have created 'an eerie landscape' protruding from the loch bed.
Samples taken by the trust's dive team have just produced radiocarbon dates of 3200BC and 2500BC.

A spokesman for the trust said: 'This is an exciting discovery for scientists of all disciplines as these trees represent possibly the earliest surviving remains of part of Scotland's natural native woodland.

'An appropriate find for what is known as Perthshire's Big Tree Country, more work needs to be carried out to determine the extent of the woodland, and to examine what might prove to be the best-preserved natural woodland floor in the country.'

The STUA says that other neolithic forest remains have been located in peat bogs, but there is no sign of peat having been present at the site in Loch Tay.

It is believed the woodland was once part of the old natural shoreline of Loch Tay. It is now some 10 to 15 yards from the current waterfront.
Preliminary investigations have uncovered hazelnuts, twigs and moss mixed with other organic material.

Samples of the timber are expected to help with tree-ring studies which, together with analysis of the sediments, plant remains, and pollen, can also assist with climate change studies.

 

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