Back to search

FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam

Moving archaeology to a 4d-science: A novel interdisciplinary approach to the study of resilience in prehistoric marine coastal environments

Alternative title: Arkeologi i 4d: en nyskapende tverrvitenskapelig innfallsvinkel til studiet av motstandsdyktigheten til forhistoriske marine kystmiljø

Awarded: NOK 3.9 mill.

The PastCoast-project will study changes and breakpoints in the use of marine coastal environments in the past, identify causes for changes, and create an interpretive framework to identify potential human responses to changing environmental settings. The project combines non-intrusive geophysical survey techniques, palaeoenvironmental studies, trial excavations and digital landscape modelling in an interpretive framework to study human resilience in a changing coastal landscape. Geophysical survey methods provide knowledge of the presence and absence of archaeological features over large areas in a fast, efficient and non-intrusive manner at a scale not feasible by excavations, and provides a wealth of palaeoenvironmental information such af fossil beach ridges, which provides insight into the spatial and temporal landscape change. Paired with targeted excavations for quality control and to provide datable evidence, geophysical survey and surface-find studies can tackle important questions of chronological change and generate a new perspective on the cultural-historical development of coastal sites. Also, a GIS-modelling approach can reveal spatial patterns of prehistoric activity on a landscape scale and how it might have changed over time by characterizing how much a site location is depending on particular site location parameter. Ultimately, this approach will provide new knowledge of the significance of coastal archaeological sites in time and space in a larger cultural-historical perspective, illuminate threats to coastal settlements from future effects of climate change, and how similar threats have been mitigated in the past and an evidence base for future management of cultural and natural landscapes at risk. The project is led by Dr. Arne Anderson Stamnes from Dept. of Archaeology and Cultural History at the NTNU University Museum in Trondheim, and in collaboration with the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and the University of Aarhus – Denmark.

This project aims to study changes and breakpoints in utilising prehistoric marine coastal environments, identify possible causes for changes, and create an interpretive framework to identify potential human responses to changing environmental settings. This will be done by combining non-intrusive geophysical survey techniques, palaeoenvironmental studies, trial excavations and digital landscape modelling in an interpretive framework to study human resilience in a changing coastal landscape. Geophysical survey methods provide knowledge of the presence and absence of archaeological features in the ground over large areas in a fast, efficient and non-intrusive manner at a scale not feasible by conventional archaeological methods, and provides a wealth of palaeoenvironmental information. This involves detailed studies of fossil beach ridges, which provides an unprecedented impression of spatial and temporal landscape change. Paired with targeted excavation, for quality control (ground-truthing), and to provide datable evidence, geophysical survey and surface-find studies can tackle important questions of chronological change and generate a new perspective on the cultural-historical development of coastal sites, and their resilience and adaption to a changing landscape. Also, a GIS-modelling approach can reveal spatial patterns of prehistoric activity on a landscape scale and how it might have changed over time by characterizing how much a site location is depending on particular site location parameters at different times. Ultimately, such an interdisciplinary approach can provide further knowledge and understanding regarding the significance of coastal archaeological sites in time and space in a larger cultural-historical perspective, illuminate threats to coastal settlements from future effects of climate change, and how similar threats have been mitigated in the past and an evidence base for future management of cultural and natural landscapes at risk.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam