Bronze Age Human Ecodynamics in the Humber Estuary
Van de Noort, Robert
University of Exeter (Van de Noort)
Meetings and Proceedings
For much of lowland Britain during the Holocene one important factor in determining environmental change was sea level fluctuation. A net rise of circa 20 m, within an oscillating short term picture of transgression and regression, caused significant short to medium term challenges for people exploiting those resources. During transgression phases estuarine creek systems extended landwards, and during the final transgression phase, widespread sedimentation took place, allowing for the development of saltmarshes on tidal flats. In later prehistory the exploitation of lowlands and estuarine wetlands was predominantly for fishing, waterfowling and pastoral use, and this paper explores the human ecodynamics of the intertidal zone in the Humber estuary during the Bronze Age. Results of the Humber Wetlands Project's recent estuarine survey, will be used to argue that following a marine transgression circa 1500 cal BC, the foreshore was fully exploited in terms of food procurement. Furthermore the construction of hurdle trackways allowed access across expanding tidal creek systems to be maintained. This not only shows continued use of the most productive environments, and provides evidence for selective use of woodland, but also the continued exploitation of the intertidal zone may have played a role in the evolution of social and political structures in this area during the Bronze Age.
Reproduced with permission of the publisher. © Oxbow Books and the individual authors, 2000.
In: Bailly. G., Charles, R., and Winder, N., (eds). 'Human Ecodynamics: Proceedings of the Association for Environmental Archaeology Conference 1998 held at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne'. Oxbow: Oxbow Books: pp.47-54.