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Durham University

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ESCOPES project. Evolving spaces: coastal landscapes of the Neolithic in the European Land’s Ends

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.

Background

Coastal areas have been poles of population attraction since the early Prehistory. At present, sea-level rise is one visible effect of climate change and human activity is also threatening much of the coastal and island territory on a global scale. In this context, the vulnerability of coastal heritage is increasingly coming into focus, particularly in areas like the European Atlantic façade where the combined results of sea-level rise, coastal environment dynamics and human activity are significantly altering the coastline.
The eSCOPES Project (Evolving spaces: coastal landscapes of the Neolithic in the European Land’s Ends, Marie Curie-IEF, PI E. López-Romero, supervisor Chris Scarre) is the result of previous research experience on coastal and island archaeology and on coastal heritage vulnerability. The project aims at:

1) Contributing to the understanding of human dynamics in the coastal landscape from the Middle Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age in Atlantic Europe (c. 4500-2200 BC) through trans-regional analysis of the archaeological evidence.

2) Assessing vulnerability of the coastal archaeological heritage and providing tools for its management.

The project, initiated in May 2013 and running until April 2015, uses close-range photogrammetric techniques as a cost-effective solution to record, model and monitor both minor and major changes in the architectonic structure of selected case studies in a number of areas of the European Atlantic façade.

The initial fieldwork campaign took place in September 2013. Six archaeological sites (two megalithic monuments in Brittany, western France, and four in Guidoiro Areoso islet in Galicia, north-west Spain) located in different environmental settings and with different structural characteristics were recorded with extensive photographic documentation.
A second and third campaign of recording will be undertaken at the same sites in March and September 2014 to provide a snapshot of the changes in operation over a 6- and 12-month timescale. Topographic reference points, combined with a series of control point measurements will allow the Digital Surface Models for each site to be accurately compared.
Further research in 2014 will integrate the vulnerability analysis of megalithic monuments on the Scilly archipelago in south-west Britain.

Staff

From the Department of Archaeology

From other departments