Investigations of a Submerged Prehistoric Midden on Hjarnø, Denmark: Climate, Sea Level and Culture
This is an abstract from the "Palaeoeconomic and Environmental Reconstructions in Island and Coastal Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Shell middens, or shell-matrix deposits, occur in large numbers across the coastlines of the world from the mid- Holocene onwards, often forming substantial mounds, but they become smaller, rarer or absent as one goes back into earlier periods, suggesting a world-wide process of economic intensification. Since sea levels were generally lower during these earlier periods, a critical question is whether shell middens could have existed on now-submerged palaeoshorelines, and if so, whether they could have survived the potentially destructive impact of sea-level rise. Here we present results of a systematic investigation of a rare example of a known underwater shell midden at the Mesolithic site of Hjarnø in Denmark. In doing so, we offer a proof of concept that shell middens can survive submergence and can be detected. Our results provide encouragement to the search for submerged shell middens in other parts of the world and at greater depth, and a suite of methods for their investigation.
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Investigations of a Submerged Prehistoric Midden on Hjarnø, Denmark: Climate, Sea Level and Culture. Jonathan Benjamin, Peter Moe Astrup, Claus Skriver, Chelsea Wiseman, Geoff Bailey. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450682)
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min long: -26.016; min lat: 53.54 ; max long: 31.816; max lat: 80.817 ;
Abstract Id(s): 22818