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Coastal Archaeology in a Dynamic Environment

A Solent case study

David J. Tomalin, Rebecca D. Loader and Robert G. Scaife
Publication Year:
English, summaries in English, French and German
558pp. Illustrated throughout, with CD
ISBN 10:
BAR number:
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Isle of Wight County Archaeological Unit carried out an intertidal survey over 6km of downwarped coastline on the southern shore of the eastern Solent. The focal point was Wootton Creek, a drowned river valley which has provided a haven for human activity since at least Mesolithic times. The intertidal study revealed some 180 sites and structures amongst which the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman, Saxon and medieval periods were particularly well represented. Outstanding features were the wooden trackways, post alignments and fish-traps of Neolithic and later date. Trees entombed in Neolithic peat produced one of the most rewarding dendrochronologies currently obtained in southern England whilst the incidence of flint picks and lithic scatters was also notable.

‘The 545 pages contain a wealth of data seamlessly presented by relevant experts within a framework created by its editors, making it a pleasure to read, or dip selectively into… The thoroughness of the data collection and analysis makes impressive reading… The value of the publication, which serves as a model for integrated archaeological assessments in the coastal zone and is a veritable mine of information on approaches which may be used, is enhanced by the addition of an ‘Archaeological Overview’ written subsequently by Tomalin at English Heritage’s request. The 8-page essay reprises the theoretical history of the formation of the Solent and that of submergence. It integrates conclusions from the survey with the results of subsequent research in the region and can be recommended as a ‘stand alone’ to anyone contemplating the study this impressive report merits.'Valerie Fenwick, the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 44.1, 2015