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Bridging the gap: a terrestrial view of shallow marine sequences and the importance of the transition zone

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle



M R Bates, Charles Richard Bates, R M Briant

School/Research organisations


The shallow shelf area around the coast of the UK contains an important record of maritime and, potentially prehistoric archaeology. Increasingly this area is the focus of anthropogenic activity such as gravel extraction and cable laying in advance of which it is increasingly common practice to investigate the archaeological potential of the sequences/regions. Well structured approaches have been developed for the investigation of maritime wrecks and the latest Prehistoric remains, however the Palaeolithic archaeological potential of these regions is less clear. This is partly due to the depth of burial of archaeological material and the rather more fragmentary nature of the sequences present. Where consideration of the Palaeolithic archaeology has been undertaken, models and presumptions derived from terrestrial situations have been extrapolated across the near shore zone, where often there is no data, and into the maritime area. Within the maritime area these models have been used to interpret seismic data and scarce offshore core data for making regional reconstructions. Here we consider some of the issues in reconstruction and highlight the difficultly in extrapolating between terrestrial and maritime situations without careful investigation in the transition zone. In particular we argue that rather than assuming similarities between patterns of landscape evolution between the on- and off-systems we should anticipate dissimilarity of patterns, missing sequences and different landscape formation processes particularly in those areas of the shallow shelf area formerly occupied by drainage basins during sea level low-stands. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1537-1551
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

    Research areas

  • shallow marine, palaeolithic archaeology, correlation, pleistocene, river terraces, geophysics, raised beaches, West Sussex, English Channel, EARLY HUMAN OCCUPATION, PLEISTOCENE SEA-LEVEL, SUSSEX COASTAL-PLAIN, SOUTHERN ENGLAND, ENGLISH-CHANNEL, SOLENT RIVER, LOWER THAMES, NORTH-SEA, QUATERNARY, DEPOSITS

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