Landscape Beneath the Waves: The Archaeological Investigation of Underwater Landscapes [Paperback]

Caroline Wickham-Jones (Author)

ISBN: 9781789250725 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Studying Scientific Archaeology | Volume: 4 | Year of Publication: 2018 | Language: English 256p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w and colour

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Landscape Beneath the Waves


At the end of the last Ice Age, sea level around the world was lower, coastal lands stretched further and the continents were bigger, in some cases landmasses were joined by dry land that has now disappeared beneath the waves. The study of the now submerged landscapes that our ancestors knew represents one of the last barriers for archaeology. Only recently have advances in underwater technology reached the stage where a wealth of procedures is available to explore this lost undersea world. This volume considers the processes behind the rising (and falling) of relative sea-levels and then presents the main techniques available for the study and interpretation of the archaeological remains that have survived inundation.

Case studies are used to illustrate particular applications. Finally, a review of projects around the world highlights the varying scale and period of sites concerned. Submerged archaeological sites often include the preservation of fragile materials such as decorated timbers, that shed rare detail on the communities of prehistory; in other cases the features of the landscape context into which they are set can be extraordinarily well-preserved. This is not a book about shipwrecks but about landscapes now lost beneath the waves. It is written for all archaeologists, whether they work on land or at sea, and for all who are interested in the past; it illustrates the shape of the world as it once was and explains why we need to understand it. It offers an easily accessible introduction to the exciting realm of underwater archaeology.

Table of Contents

1. The archaeological exploration of underwater landscapes: Introduction
2. Past studies of changes in relative sea-level and submerged landscapes around the UK
3. The mechanics of rising relative sea-levels and changing coastlines
4. Reconstructing relative sea-level rise
5. The mechanics of site submergence and preservation
6. Methodologies I: Remote sensing and sediment analysis
7. Methodologies II: Exploration and modelling
8. Managing submerged sites and landscapes
9. Submerged landscapes around the world: Asia, Africa and the Americas
10. Submerged landscapes around the world: The Mediterranean and the Black Sea
11. Submerged landscapes around the world: Atlantic and Northwest Europe
12. Submerged landscapes around the world: Doggerland, Britain and Ireland
13. Conclusions

Reviews & Quotes

"…a book that deserves to be read by all striving to untangle the complex palimpsest of our landscape."
Mike Pitts
British Archaeology (07/12/2018)

"this book does much to fill the apparent gap in the market for a sound introduction to its subject at a reasonable price…"
Robert J. C. Mowat
International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (09/09/2019)

"As a volume of the Studying Scientific Archaeology series, which is aimed at university students and focuses on the application of scientific techniques to understand the human past, both the style of the book and its content are well suited to a student readership. It is crafted like a textbook with clearly written, concise sections, inset boxes explaining key terms and concepts, and numerous illustrations."
Ashley Lemke
Antiquity (03/11/2020)

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