• The application of micro-Raman for the analysis of ochre artefacts from Mesolithic palaeo-lake Flixton

      Needham, Andy; Croft, Shannon; Kröger, Roland; Robson, Harry K.; Rowley, Charlotte C. A.; Taylor, Barry; Gray Jones, Amy; Conneller, Chantal; University of York; University of Chester; University of Manchester (Elsevier, 2017-12-20)
      Ochre is an important mineral pigment used by prehistoric hunter-gatherers across the globe, and its use in the Mesolithic is no exception. Using optical microscopy and Raman spectroscopy with micrometre spatial resolution (micro-Raman), we present evidence that confirms unambiguously the use of ochre by hunter-gatherers at Mesolithic sites surrounding Palaeo-Lake Flixton, Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire, UK. Our results suggest that people collected ochre and processed it in different ways, likely for diverse purposes. The quality and specificity of chemical characterisation possible with micro-Raman facilitates new avenues for further research on ochreous materials in Britain, including provenancing through chemical ‘fingerprinting’.
    • Chinese writing composition among CFL learners: A comparison between handwriting and typewriting

      Zhang, Qi; Min, Ge (Elsevier, 2019-09-20)
      Situated in the context of CFL (Chinese as a foreign language), the current study examines and compares texts produced by twelve pre-intermediate CFL learners using both pen-and-paper and the pinyin input system. The participants were also invited for interviews to investigate their attitudes towards handwriting and typewriting. Because of the ease of use of the pinyin input system, CFL learners tend to prefer it over writing by hand when composing lengthy texts. Based on the evaluations of fifteen professional CFL teachers, the typewritten texts were rated higher than the handwritten ones. Using the self-report empathy test, there was no significant correlation between an evaluator’s empathy and his/her rating for the texts, whether composed by hand or with pinyin input. Pedagogically, typewriting might better assist Chinese language learning after handwriting has been introduced and practised among non-beginner CFL learners. The empathy effect on handwriting reported in previous literature is not found in the study. The study goes beyond the factors influencing typewriting and typewritten essays, to encourage future research investigating when to introduce computer-based writing and how it would best assist in language learning.
    • Degradation of the wetland sediment archive at Star Carr: an assessment of current palynological preservation

      Albert, Bruce; Innes, Jim; Blackford, Jeff; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Milner, Nicky; Czech Life Sciences University; Durham University; University of Hull; University of Chester; University of Manchester; University of York (Elsevier, 2016-03-28)
      This paper presents the results of an investigation into the preservation status of pollen and other microfossils in the organic sediments at the wetland Mesolithic site of Star Carr. This study assesses the degradation of the pollen record in a profile at the edge of the archaeological site, adjacent to previous pollen work carried out from 1989 to 1991 and using it as a benchmark for comparison. There has been a severe degradation of pollen grains since the earlier work, with the upper peat devoid of pollen and the lower part of the organic profile badly affected. Only the very basal sediments retain well preserved pollen. Comparisons with hydrological and geo-chemical data obtained by other workers during the assessment of the Star Carr site suggest that oxidation caused by drainage and dessication of the organic sediments, perhaps originating in fissures in the drying peat, is a primary cause of the observed severe deterioration of the pollen record. Non-pollen palynomorphs (primarily fungal and algal spores) appear to be better preserved than pollen in the present bio-stratigraphic record, showing little surface degeneration, but are not recorded in the earlier work. The pollen archive in organic sediments at the Star Carr site is now badly damaged. Any further pollen work there should be undertaken urgently but is probably not justifiable.
    • Phonological awareness in German-speaking preschool children with cochlear implants – 3 case examples

      Wachtlin, Bianka; Turinsky, Yvonne; Herrmann, Frank; Schaefer, Blanca; Catholic University of Applied Sciences; Private Practice for Speech and Language Therapy; University of Chester; University of Sheffield (Elsevier, 2017-06-30)
      Objectives: The aim was to explore PA skills German-speaking preschool children with cochlea implants (CIs) and how these skills may be related to their speech and language skills. Methods: Three monolingual German-speaking pre-school children aged 5;04–6;01 with bilateral CIs were tested. Their cognitive, speech and language skills were assessed. Six subtests of a standardized PA test battery were administered (i.e. rhyme identification, rhyme production; phoneme identification-input and -output; phoneme blending-input and -output). Results: All three children showed distinctive PA profiles. One boy, who had no spoken language deficits, struggled to complete the rhyme tasks but performed well on three phoneme tasks. However, he showed a discrepancy between expressive and receptive phoneme blending skills, scoring poorly on the expressive subtest. The second boy, who displayed grammar comprehension and expressive vocabulary difficulties, showed a mixed profile, with a below average performance on rhyme production. The girl who had significant speech and language deficits scored below average on all six PA subtests. Conclusions: PA profiles in children with CI vary considerably and PA testing should include a range of different PA tasks. The assumed link between spoken language deficits and PA difficulties shown in children with normal hearing could be confirmed.
    • Scales of analysis: evidence of fish and fish processing at Star Carr.

      Robson, Harry K.; Little, Aimee; Jones, Andrew K. G.; Blockley, Simon; Candy, Ian; Matthews, Ian; Palmer, Adrian; Schreve, Danielle; Tong, Emma; Pomstra, Diederik; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-02-17)
      This contribution directly relates to the paper published by Wheeler in 1978 entitled ‘Why were there no fish remains at Star Carr?’. Star Carr is arguably the richest, most studied and re-interpreted Mesolithic site in Europe but the lack of fish remains has continued to vex scholars. Judging from other materials, the preservation conditions at the site in the late 1940s/early 1950s should have been good enough to permit the survival of fish remains, and particularly dentaries of the northern pike (Esox lucius L., 1758) as found on other European sites of this age. The lack of evidence has therefore been attributed to a paucity of fish in the lake. However, new research has provided multiple lines of evidence, which not only demonstrate the presence of fish, but also provide evidence for the species present, data on how and where fish were being processed on site, and interpretations for the fishing methods that might have been used. This study demonstrates that an integrated approach using a range of methods at landscape, site and microscopic scales of analysis can elucidate such questions. In addition, it demonstrates that in future studies, even in cases where physical remains are lacking, forensic techniques hold significant potential.