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Changing tides: The archaeological context of sea level change in Prehistoric South Wales

Philp, Rhiannon 2018. Changing tides: The archaeological context of sea level change in Prehistoric South Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Evidence for the effects of past sea level change can be found in the submerged landscapes within the intertidal zone of Britain. Such evidence is particularly prevalent in Wales, but understanding the rate at which these changes occurred during prehistory is limited, due to a dearth of palaeoenvironmental, archaeological and temporal data. Wide-scale sea level models cannot provide a high enough chronological resolution to understand sea level change at a human focussed level, causing difficulties when it comes to placing archaeological evidence within its contemporary environmental context. This thesis focuses on the human experience of sea level change and the environmental changes that occur alongside to provide new archaeological, palaeoenvironmental and chronological data from two previously unstudied sites on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales: Broughton Bay and Port Eynon. Focussing on the remains of submerged forests and landscapes in the intertidal zone, this thesis aims to identify localised effects of sea level change on the landscape and the people who inhabited it during prehistory. In doing so it links palaeoenvironmental pollen data from localised environmental sequences with archaeological data from both the immediate vicinity and wider landscape, aided by new radiocarbon dates from the intertidal deposits. The archaeological evidence used includes the human and animal footprints at Port Eynon and securely dated archaeological deposits from the Mesolithic and Neolithic funerary depositions in the wider Gower area. The research also reviews the approach taken to interdisciplinary research within the intertidal zone and proposes solutions to common issues faced in investigating these environments. By combining multiple evidence sources at a localised level, in depth narratives can be drawn about human experience of sea level change in the past, that have the potential to be applied to human experience of current and future sea level driven changes in our own landscapes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Submission
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mesolithic; Neolithic; footprints; submerged forest; Broughton Bay; Port Eynon; Gower; archaeology, palaeoenvironment; sea level change; pollen.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 January 2019
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 01:26

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