Earliest evidence of anthropogenic impact

Time and change

Evidence of significant deliberate, human-driven landscape alteration is evident as early as the Neolithic as people transformed culturally from hunter gatherers to farming and settlement.

Deliberate landscape modification through mineral exploitation, processing and waste generation gathered pace during the Bronze Age.

Transformation of the landscape increased around this time as humans became geological and geomorphological agents through the deliberate removal, transport and placement of sediment.

During the Roman occupation of Great Britain the population became more centralised in towns and cities.

As these towns and cities expanded, landscape alteration increased not only within the 'urban' areas themselves, but also further afield as materials were sourced from surrounding areas to supply and fuel this early urban growth.

Although these activities happened in different geological periods, it may be possible to define the Anthropocene on the basis of the anthropogenic geological and geomorphological landscape transformations during these periods.

Earliest evidence of the Anthropocene. (Photo: Simon Price).

Contact

Contact Dr Mike Ellis (Climate Change) and Simon Price (Urban Geoscience) for further information.