Ireland: Submerged Prehistoric Sites and Landscapes

K Westley, Peter Woodman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Evidence of Ireland’s drowned landscapes and settlements presently comprises 50 sites spread across the entire island. These comprise mainly intertidal find spots or small collections of flint artefacts. A handful of fully subtidal sites are known, generally from nearshore regions and consisting, with one exception, of isolated single finds. Evidence of organic remains is also sparse, with the exception of Mesolithic and Neolithic wooden fish traps buried in estuarine sediments under Dublin. The relatively small number of sites is probably due to lack of research as much as taphonomic issues, and thus the current evidence hints at the potential archaeological record which may be found underwater. Such evidence could contribute to knowledge of the coastal adaptations and seafaring abilities of Ireland’s earliest inhabitants. Nonetheless, taphonomic considerations, specifically relating to Ireland’s history of glaciation, sea-level change and also modern oceanographic conditions likely limit the preservation of submerged landscapes and their associated archaeology. Realistically, the Irish shelf is likely characterised by pockets of preservation, which makes detection and study of submerged landscapes difficult but not impossible. A range of potential routes of investigation are identifiable, including site-scale archaeological survey, landscape-scale seabed mapping, archival research and community engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Archaeology of Europe’s Drowned Landscapes
EditorsGeoff Bailey, Nena Galanidou, Hans Peeters, Hauke Jöns, Mortiz Mennenga
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Chapter11
Pages221-248
Number of pages28
Volume35
EditionCOASTALRL
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-37367-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-37366-5
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameCoastal Research Library
Volume35
ISSN (Print)2211-0577
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0585

Keywords

  • Submerged prehistoric sites
  • Intertidal archaeology
  • Holocene sea-level rise
  • Submerged forests
  • Fish traps
  • Maritime adaptation

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