Ecology of Early Settlement in Northern Europe - Conditions for Subsistence and Survival (Volume 1) - Per Persson

Ecology of Early Settlement in Northern Europe - Conditions for Subsistence and Survival (Volume 1) - Per Persson

16. The Changing Landscape of Prehistoric Orkney

Ecology of Early Settlement in Northern Europe - Conditions for Subsistence and Survival (Volume 1) - Per Persson

Caroline Wickham-Jones [+-]
University of Aberdeen
Caroline Wickham-Jones is a consultant archaeologist living in Orkney. She is an Honorary Research Assistant at the University of Aberdeen. Her research focusses on the early prehistoric settlement of Scotland and the impact of landscape change, particularly that driven by changing relative sea-levels. She is the author of several books and many academic papers.
Richard Bates [+-]
University of St Andrews
Dr C. Richard Bates is an applied geophysicist at the University of St Andrews. His research focus is on applying geoscientific techniques to a range of both terrestrial and marine areas in particular with relevance to climate change studies and the reconstruction of past environments and landscapes.
Sue Dawson [+-]
University of Dundee
Sue Dawson is a Reader in Physical Geography at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Her research covers Holocene relative sea level change in Scotland and the sedimentology of extreme events (tsunamis and storms) in the UK, Indian Ocean, Greenland. She is currently working on a mult-institutional project to assess the threat to the UK from potential tsunamis caused by submarine landslides in the northern North Atlantic with future climate change.
Alastair Dawson [+-]
University of Dundee
Alastair Dawson is Honorary Professor of Geography at the University of Dundee, Scotland. His expertise is principally in the areas of climate change, Quaternary environmental changes and coastal processes. His particular specialisms include palaeoclimatology of North Atlantic region, sea level changes across northern Europe and tsunami geoscience. He has published over 100 internationally refereed academic papers and is the author of several books.
Martin Bates [+-]
University of Wales Trinity St Davids
Martin Bates is a lecturer in geoarchaeology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter. His research has focused on Palaeolithic and Mesolithic landscape change in N W Europe. He has also worked extensively in the Middle East and Africa. He is undertakes contract geoarchaeological work for development control projects and has designed the geoarchaeological investigation program for major engineering works such as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in southern England.


The existence of a submerged landscape that may preserve Holocene material around the UK has long been postulated. In recent years, major advances in techniques of sea-floor and subsea-floor survey together with advances in GIS modeling have provided the foundation for the refinement of regional topography, different patterns of inundation and archaeological survival. Research has necessarily focused on the broadscale and relied on generalised modelled data in order to provide overall interpretation, but the challenge for archaeology is to approach human experience at a variety of scales down to the local level. The Orkney archipelago in the north of Scotland provides an ideal location to investigate the changing landscape of the early Holocene because of active relative sea-level rise, locations of sediment preservation and the nature of the archaeological remains. This paper presents the results of research at different scales from the general to the local. In this way we hope to generate discussion regarding analysis of the interplay between natural landscape change and human activity associated with the changing patterns of relative sea level that occurred throughout the Mesolithic and Neolithic. The results show that an interdisciplinary approach can provide valuable information to investigate human behavior in response to natural changes.

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Wickham-Jones, Caroline; Bates, Richard; Dawson, Sue; Dawson, Alastair; Bates, Martin. 16. The Changing Landscape of Prehistoric Orkney. Ecology of Early Settlement in Northern Europe - Conditions for Subsistence and Survival (Volume 1). Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 393-413 Feb 2018. ISBN 9781781795156. Date accessed: 19 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30926. Feb 2018

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