A review of palaeoenvironmental evidence in 2007 (Hall and Huntley 2007) noted the dearth of known early medieval evidence in the North West, and this has subsequently been reiterated in reviews of charcoal (Huntley 2010) and invertebrates (Kenward 2009). Palynological research has, however, highlighted the variety of scale and date if vegetation change in early medieval Cumbria, demonstrating no consistent trend (Forster 2010), although the lack of widespread regeneration would suggest that upland grazing continued to be an important management practice throughout the period. This situation has not changed radically in the intervening years, although examination of samples from excavated sites is now much more routine than in the past, and, indeed, provides one important source of material for radiocarbon dating, which in turn has produced evidence of early medieval activity.

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