French Peat Bog Reveals Sobering Environmental Story

Nature: Excavations of a peat bog near Dijon, France have given researchers a look at the environmental history of a Celtic mining town. Experts working on a peat bog near Dijon, France, are learning a valuable lesson about human impact on the environment. Even though the land around the site is totally green, archaeologists have found a long history of pollution dating from before the first century and continuing through the eighteenth. "This demonstrates that any lead pollution we create today will persist for thousands of years into the future," says Fabrice Monna from the University of Bourgogne in Dijon, leader of the excavation.

The team believes that the site was used for mining as early as 1300 BCE, but that activity increased to its peak when a Celtic tribe occupied the site in the first century. Rich deposits of lead, silver and zinc were discovered in the area, and most trees were cut down for use in the smelting operation.