Media reports on historic lead level study involving Mayewski

Science magazine reported on a study that Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, participated in that involved analyzing lead concentrations in ice core samples in correlation with major events in medieval England. Mayewski, in collaboration with Chris Loveluck, an archaeologist with the University of Nottingham, Michael McCormick, chair of the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past at Harvard University, and other Harvard historians, studied samples from a 72-meter-long ice core drilled in 2013 in the Colle Gnifetti Glacier in the Swiss Alps. The ice core they studied preserved more than 2,000 years of pollution, volcanoes, and Saharan dust storm fallout; and each sample represented between a few days and weeks of snowfall. The team found dramatic lead spikes occurred between 1170 and 1219 C.E., according to the article. Using a model, the team discovered that lead-laced winds blew from Great Britain to the Swiss Alps in the summer rises. Researchers also found that the rises and drops in lead levels correlated with major events surrounding medieval kings, according to Science. Technology Networks Group also reported on the study.