The Lower Valley and the Delta of the Rhône River: Water Landscapes of Nature and History
Linking the Mediterranean to northern Europe, the lower Rhône valley is the major axis of communication in the south of France since the antiquity. The valley ends by a large deltaic plain rich in history and landscapes of international renown. It annually attracts thousands of tourists and nature lovers and artists through several festivals and exhibitions. Original water landscapes were built in the valley and at the contact between the river and the sea (delta). Their development over the centuries is the product of a complex evolution between the natural environment and human history. Numerous archaeological excavations reflect man–environment interactions, emphasising the strong constraint of fluviatile–deltaic environments, and how human societies, since the Greeks and the Romans, found some parades to mitigate the fluvial risk. The geomorphology of the landscapes is most of the time discrete, and we must learn to decipher the old and recent landforms derived from fluvial, lagoonal or marine environments. The landforms are now subject to different aggressions (erosion, pollution) and metamorphoses related to human activities combining with the natural dynamics: the protection of the “nature” has become a real challenge.
KeywordsWater landscape Palaeoenvironment and geoarchaeology Biodiversity Fluvial and marine hazards Cultural heritage Lower Rhône valley
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