Archaeology & Coastal Change
Archaeology and Coastal Change is a project funded by the Standing Conference on Problems Associated with the Coastline (SCOPAC). It is seeking to demonstrate the potential of the archaeological and palaeo-environmental resource to help understand the impact of sea level and climate change on our coastline.
To achieve this, locations along the coastline within SCOPAC jurisdiction have been identified as study areas. Within these areas, the local Historic Environment Records have been assessed to identify sites with archaeological or palaeoenvironmental material that can tell us about past changes in the coastline. Stark examples include WWII pill boxes which end up lying at the bottom of a beach in pieces due to an eroding foreshore, coastal buildings that are now flooded each high tide and submerged landscapes which were once dry land. All these can be direct indicators of a rise in sea level. If these events are dated we can calculate where sea level was in that given point in time. Where we have evidence of an ancient land surface, we can look at the preserved remains to build a picture of the local environment. This in turn can tell us about the climate.
The process we are following will test a set of criteria which will rank the importance of sites in relation to coastal change. The results should contribute to future management strategies by identifying the types of sites which hold information about coastal change. Where this information is analysed, it could be used to inform management policies and ensure best practice.
More information on the aims, methods and initial results of the project can be downloaded here (pdf 649kb).