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Research team examine impact of climate change on preserving our past

25 January 2022

 

The vital role of Teesside University researchers in helping to preserve history at a North-East archaeological site is being highlighted nationally.

Dr Gillian Taylor
Dr Gillian Taylor

A research team from Teesside University has been involved in important ongoing work with the Vindolanda Trust at the Roman archaeological site of Magna Hadrian’s Wall.

And, as the 1,900th anniversary of work to construct historic Hadrian’s Wall is being celebrated, the research team’s efforts have been spotlighted in the national news as concerns are raised that climate change could be erasing some of the clues to our past.

Lead scientist for the research Dr Gillian Taylor, of the University’s School of Health & Life Sciences, has been speaking to the media about the vital work being carried out to study the impact of climate change using state-of-the art equipment to analyse the chemicals in soil from the historic site.

Soil samples from the site have been carefully transferred to the University’s National Horizons Centre in Darlington for analysis to gauge the impact of environmental changes.

There are fears that climate change is threatening to destroy archaeological treasures hidden in the earth, as the soils which protect them dry out.

Dr Taylor said: “The impact of climate change upon archaeological sites requires urgent attention to prevent the loss and destruction of our World Heritage Sites.

The impact of climate change upon archaeological sites requires urgent attention

Dr Gillian Taylor

“Understanding the impact of current climatic conditions upon sites, especially at the molecular level is challenging, but important to ensure development of management strategies to mitigate environmental challenges of the future.”

The Teesside University team has been working with the Vindolanda Trust and Historic England, along with Newcastle University, at historic sites in Northumberland.

The team of archaeologists, geoarchaeologists and scientists have been examining how historic land management and future climate change may be damaging the sensitive archaeological deposits of the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall at the fort of Magna.

Dr Gillian Taylor, whose team is analysing chemicals in the soil cores to try to understand the processes at work, said it would be a “catastrophe” for any organic artefacts if the peat dries and conditions change.

She said: “The risk is they will disappear. We will lose our heritage if we don't look at what's occurring now.”


In the News

Climate change threatening buried UK treasures
BBC News, Web, 25/01/2022
Climate change is threatening to destroy treasures buried in the UK as the soils that protect them dry out.


Buried treasures threatened by climate change
MSN Australia, Web, 25/01/2022
A Roman toilet seat, the world's oldest boxing glove, and the oldest handwritten letter by a woman are some of the extraordinary objects discovered in at-risk British peatlands.


Climate change threatening Britain's ancient treasure as peat bogs dry out
The Independent, Web, 25/01/2022
If peatlands across Britain keep drying out, ‘we will lose our heritage', archaeologists have warned. 


Archaeology ''catastrophe'' means UK's Roman treasures at risk of being ''lost forever''
The California Sun, Web, 25/01/2022
The problem is said to be climate change, which is causing the soil to be dried out at some peatlands.


Climate change threatening Britain's ancient treasure as peat bogs dry out
Darlington and Stockton Times, Web, 25/01/2022
British experts have warned that around 22,500 UK sites of archaeological significance are under threat from climate change


Climate change threatening Britain's ancient treasure as peat bogs dry out
Yahoo! Canada, Web, 25/01/2022
As changing weather patterns continue to dry out peatlands, the still-buried artefacts they contain could also be destroyed.


Climate change threatening Britain's ancient treasure as peat bogs dry out
Northern Echo, Web, 25/01/2022
British experts have warned that around 22,500 UK sites of archaeological significance are under threat from climate change.


Climate change threatening Britain's ancient treasure as peat bogs dry out
Mail Online, Web, 25/01/2022
As changing weather patterns continue to dry out peatlands, the still-buried artefacts they contain could also be destroyed,


Archaeology ''catastrophe'' means UK's Roman treasures at risk of being ''lost forever''
Daily Express, Web, 25/01/2022
Archaeologists are scrambling to unlock the secrets of Britain's past as some 22,500 treasure sites are at risk of being lost forever.


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