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Postglacial Human Dispersal and Submerged Landscapes in North-West Europe

  • Garry MomberEmail author
  • Hans Peeters
Chapter
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 20)

Abstract

This chapter examines the evidence of extensive human movements in the lands adjacent to the North Sea basin following the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). We consider recent evidence from submerged sites in the southern North Sea and English Channel, and assess the potential for preservation of archaeological material under water by reviewing examples from coastal sites that have become exposed due to coastal change. We show how these site types hold organic sources of data that can be better preserved and survive in richer concentrations and greater quantities than material found on land. We place this evidence in geographical and temporal context to consider patterns of cultural dispersal and distribution from the late Pleistocene through to the Holocene. We demonstrate how the land would have been desirable and occupied, and how maritime pathways facilitated movement as sea level rose, resulting in wide-ranging transport networks for goods and people. The new discoveries of submerged archaeological material provide unique data that needs to be assessed if we are to gain a coherent understanding of human adaptation and dispersal across north-west Europe and particularly Britain following the LGM.

Keywords

Mesolithic Palaeolithic Sea-level change Climate change Human dispersal Bouldnor Cliff SedaDNA Yangtze harbour Maritime corridors 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the Department of Archaeology, University of York, and the DISPERSE Project (Grant No. 269586) funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the EU Seventh Framework Programme, for providing intellectual and managerial support and research time for Garry Momber. We also thank Geoff Bailey and Clive Waddington for detailed comments that have helped to improve the text. We would also like to thank the Maritime Archaeology Trust under whose umbrella the work has continued for over eighteen years. This is DISPERSE contribution no. 34.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maritime Archaeology TrustNational Oceanography Centre, Empress DockSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Department of Archaeology, The King’s ManorUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  3. 3.Groningen Institute of Archaeology (GIA)GroningenThe Netherlands

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