ISCH COST Action TD0902
Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf
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The main objective of the Action is to promote research on the archaeology, climate and environment of the drowned landscapes of the continental shelf, created during periods of lower sea level, which form a major part of the European cultural heritage. For most of human history on the European continent over the past one million years, sea levels have persisted at levels lower than present by as much as 130m, creating extensive coastal and lowland landscapes attractive to human settlement. Between 16,000 and 6000 years, most of this territory was drowned by rapid sea level rise from -130m, following the last Ice Age, transforming the geographical and environmental context of human development with consequences that persisted into the modern era. This drowned landscape preserves valuable sedimentary archives of long-term environmental and climatic changes, and an increasing number of archaeological remains have been found, documenting human response and adaptation to this rapidly changing environment. With intensification of commercial activity on the seabed and improved research technology, the quantity of evidence is increasing rapidly. So too are the threats of destruction of this cultural heritage. This Action will improve knowledge on the location, preservation conditions, investigation methods, interpretation and management of underwater archaeological, geological and palaeoenvironmental evidence of prehistoric human activity, create a structure for the development of new interdisciplinary and international research collaboration, provide guidance for archaeologists, heritage professionals, scientists, government agencies, commercial organisations, policy makers and a wider public.
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