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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 271–309 | Cite as

One hundred years of Quaternary pollen analysis 1916–2016

  • H. John B. BirksEmail author
  • Björn E. Berglund
Original Article

Abstract

We review the history of Quaternary pollen analysis from 1916 to the present-day, with particular emphasis on methodological and conceptual developments and on the early pioneers of the subject. The history is divided into three phases—the pioneer phase 1916–1950, the building phase 1951–1973, and the mature phase 1974–present-day. We also explore relevant studies prior to Lennart von Post’s seminal lecture in 1916 in Kristiania (Oslo) in an attempt to trace how the idea of Quaternary pollen analysis with quantitative pollen counting and stratigraphical pollen diagrams developed.

Keywords

Concepts History Methods Palaeoclimatology Pioneers Pollen-representation studies Quaternary geology Taphonomy 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper is based in part on the lectures we gave at the Centenary (1916–2016) of Pollen Analysis and the Legacy of Lennart von Post held at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm on 24–25 November 2016. This meeting was generously supported by the Linnaeus University, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. We are very grateful to Marie-José Gaillard and Kevin J Edwards for the invitation to present our lectures; to Hilary Birks for many helpful discussions and invaluable practical assistance; to the late Svend Th. Andersen, Lucie Čermákova, Kevin Edwards, the late Knut Fægri, Thomas Giesecke, the late Harry Godwin, the late Johs Iversen, Steve Jackson, Per Magnus Jørgensen, Pim de Klerk, the late Tage Nilsson, Anneli Poska, the late Bill Watts, and the late Herb Wright for valuable information about the early history of pollen analysis; to Kevin Edwards, an anonymous reviewer, and Felix Bittmann for comments and suggestions; and to Cathy Jenks for her hard work and meticulous help in preparing the manuscript. We appreciate access to archival material held at the Swedish Geological Survey, Uppsala; the Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University; Lund University; and the University of Bergen.

Supplementary material

334_2017_630_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (675 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 674 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Environmental Change Research CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Geology, Quaternary ResearchLund UniversityLundSweden

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