This project has been commissioned by the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme to provide the Isle of Bute with its first full Holocene (the last 10,000 years) pollen diagram. The island is one of the few Scottish islands not to have such a study undertaken on it and as thus the history of vegetational change on Bute is currently not well understood. The island does have a rich archaeological history, which can be seen to stretch back to the Mesolithic period (c.8800-4000 years ago). This has been recently publicized in the excellent Archaeological Landscape of Bute by Geddes and Hale (2010). 
In order to complete this study a site had to be located and then chosen on the basis of whether it would offer the opportunity to reconstruct vegetational change and communities over this (large) timeframe. This was undertaken previously as part of a palaeoenvironmental audit of the island and the results of this can be downloaded for free from the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme website:
The site of Red Loch in the north of the island has been chosen for study due to its potential to contain deep sediments that are likely to date back to the Early Holocene and thus allow reconstruction for the whole Holocene period. Initial results showed that peat here extended >5.5m in depth with radiocarbon dates showing peat accumulation from 7300-7040 cal BC to cal AD 1420-1620; showing peat accumulation from the Mesolithic through to the late medieval period.
This part of the project will now be looking to extend this work and build a Master Chronology for vegetation change on Bute.

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