SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pollen spectrum CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A diagram produced after the analysis of the pollen from a column of peat or other soil. Pollen diagrams consist of a number of graphs, showing the fluctuations of different pollen types through a sediment or soil. The vertical axis of the diagram represents depth through the deposit and is therefore roughly related to time, as the deeper layers are the oldest. Each small graph represents the changing frequency of one pollentype, either as a percentage (proportional pollen counting) or as an absolute frequency (absolute pollen counting). It is often possible to split the diagram up into a number of pollen zones, each dominated by high frequencies of a particular pollentype or types.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in Suffolk, England, where John Frere discovered Stone Age implements (hand axes) among some fossilized bones of extinct animals in 1797. At that time, it was believed that the Earth had been created in 4004 BC. In reporting his findings, Frere suggested that the remains came from a time considerably earlier than that. His report was politely received, but it wasn't until 1956 that it was demonstrated that the lake clays had a distinctive Hoxnian pollen diagram and the Acheulian hand axes were associated with this.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Middle Palaeolithicsite near Bremen in north Germany (Lower Saxony), where organic muds revealed a pollen diagram of the last Interglacial. In these muds, a yew woodspear broken into several pieces was found. It passed between the ribs of the skeleton of an Elephant of Elephas antiquus type. The tip was finely shaved to a point and fire-hardened; the spear was evidently used for thrusting.
CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A series of divisions that can be drawn across a pollen diagram on the basis of fluctuations in pollen types. Each pollen zone is dominated by high frequencies of a particular pollen type or types. In recent years, many palynologists have abandoned general zonation schemes and instead have divided their pollen diagrams into 'pollen assemblage zones' (p.a.z.). These are based simply on the pollen fluctuations seen in each particular diagram and can therefore take account of local variation in the history of vegetation.