The Holocene, or “wholly recent,” Epoch is the youngest phase of earth history. It began when the last glaciation ended, and for this reason is sometimes also known as the post-glacial period. In reality, however, the Holocene is one of many interglacials which have punctuated the late Cainozoic Ice Age. The term was introduced by Gervais in 1869 and was accepted as part of valid geological nomenclature by the International Geological Congress in 1885. The International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) has a commission devoted to the study of the Holocene, and several International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP) projects have been based around environmental changes during the Holocene. A technical guide produced by IGCP Subproject 158B (“Palaeohydrological Changes in the Temperate Zone”) represents a comprehensive account of Holocene research methods (Berglund 1986). Since 1991, there has also existed a journal dedicated exclusively to Holocene research (The Holocene...
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