Coasts as Archives of the Past

  • Anja M. Scheffers
  • Sander R. Scheffers
  • Dieter H. Kelletat
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 2)


What roles have human impacts and natural processes had in shaping the evolution of our world’s coastlines during the Holocene? Where, when and how did natural processes such as sea level rise or societies transform the coastal zone? At what scales and rhythms did these changes took place? What can coastal archives tell us about human-environment interactions? Geoarchaeological research attempt to understand the interplay between culture and nature, and more particularly how environments and processes have played a role in Holocene human occupation of the coastal zone. This approach has drawn on the multidisciplinary study of geologic or biologic archives of information, to attempt to differentiate between anthropogenic and natural factors. Other landforms such as uplifted ancient shorelines are evidence for crustal movements in particular in areas of deglaciation and glacio-isostatic uplift. Stepped cliffs, uplifted notches, coastal staircases of ancient coral reefs or fixed biological sea-level indicators allow coastal scientists to reconstruct the history of relative sea-level variations or neotectonics along coastlines.


Beach Ridge Shell Midden Neolithic Settlement Photo Credit Geologic Archive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anthony EJ, (2009) Shore processes and their palaeoenvironmental applications. Marine Geology 4:264–288, 319–324.Google Scholar
  2. Baker RGV, Haworth RJ, Flood PG (2001) Inter-tidal fixed indicators of former Holocene sea levels in Australia: a summary of sites and a review of methods and models. Quaternary International 83–85:257–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brückner H, Schellmann G (2003) Late Pleistocene and Holocene shorelines of Andréeland (Spitsbergen, Svalbard) – Geomorphological evidences and palaeooceanographic significance. Journal of Coastal Research Coast Res 19 (4):971–982.Google Scholar
  4. Brückner H (2003) Delta evolution and culture – aspects of geoarchaeological research in Miletos and Priene. In: Wagner GA, Pernicka E & Uerpmann HP (eds.): Troia and the Troad. Scientific approaches. – pp. 121–144. Springer Series: Natural Science in Archaeology. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Brückner H, Muellenhoff M, Gehrels R, Herda A, Knipping M, Voett A (2006) From archipelago to floodplain – geographical and ecological changes in Miletus and its environs during the past six millennia (Western Anatolia, Turkey). Annals of Geomorphology, N. F., Suppl. – Vol. 142: 63–83.Google Scholar
  6. Horton BP, Zong Y, Hillier C, Engelhart S (2007) Diatoms from Indonesian mangroves and their suitability as sea-level indicators for tropical environments. Marine Micropaleontology 63:155–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Johnson, L (2005) Archaeology. In: Schwartz ML (Ed., 2005): Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. Springer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  8. Milne GA, Gehrels WR, Hughes CW, Tamisiea ME (2009) Identifying the causes of sea-level change. Nature Geoscience Vol 2:471– 478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Pirazzoli PA (1991) World Atlas of Holocene Sea-Level Changes. The Netherlands: Elsevier Oceanography Series 58, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  10. Pirazzoli PA (1996) Sea-level changes: the last 20 000 years. Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  11. Sanjaume E, Tolgensbakk J (2009) Beach ridges from the Varanger Peninsula (Arctic Norwegian coast): Characteristics and significance. Geomorphology 104 (1–2):82–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Schwartz ML (Ed., 2005): Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. Springer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anja M. Scheffers
    • 1
  • Sander R. Scheffers
    • 2
  • Dieter H. Kelletat
    • 3
  1. 1.Southern Cross GeoscienceSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.Marine Ecology Research CentreSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of CologneKölnGermany

Personalised recommendations