Of Sea-Levels & Archaeology

One of the questions that has long been of interest to me is that of the changing coastline of the Western Isles due to variations in sea-level over time.

Happily, and serendipitously, the article on Harris that is the subject of my previous post has a map indicating the projected coastline as it was about 12,000 years ago. This map (Figure 9 in the article) comes from:

Wickham-Jones, C.R and Dawson, S (2006)
The scope of Strategic Environmental Assessment of North Sea Area SEA7 with regard to prehistoric and early historic archaeological remains, Strategic Environmental Assessment Programme report,
London: UK Department of Trade and Industry

Fortunately, this report is available from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (http://www.offshore-sea.org.uk/site/) .
The download is :http://www.offshore-sea.org.uk/consultations/SEA_7/SEA7_PreArchaeology_CWJ.pdf

It is a complex and comprehensive document but a glance at Figure 2.11, showing the expanding coastline of the isles at 10m intervals of dropping sea-levels, gives an indication of how crucial sea-level changes are in understanding the story of the isles.

I have only just found this article (itself lying submerged in an unexpected location!) but thought it to be of sufficient interest to bring it to your attention immediately.



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