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North Sea ArchaeologiesA Maritime Biography, 10,000 BC - AD 1500$
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Robert Van de Noort

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199566204

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199566204.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 12 June 2021

Socializing coastal landscapes

Socializing coastal landscapes

5 Socializing coastal landscapes
North Sea Archaeologies

Robert Van de Noort

Oxford University Press

For many decades, archaeologists have studied the ways in which past people have made the landscapes they inhabited their own, through the construction of paths and roads, monuments, settlements, and field systems, leading to what has been termed ‘cultural landscapes’. Such approaches have great validity on land. Archaeologists’ interest in constructed monuments, for example, enables the analysis of social structures and social changes over centuries, and nowhere is this approach more vigorously pursued than for the monument-rich Wessex region in the Neolithic and Bronze Age (e.g. Renfrew 1973; Barrett 1997). In order to achieve such a social analysis of monuments, understanding the sequences of construction, alteration, modification, and sometimes conversion is a long-standing theme in archaeological landscape research (e.g. Bradley 1998). The notion that ‘one type of monument could only be read and understood in relation to the others’ (Tilley 1994: 203) is broadly accepted. Most archaeologists have taken it for granted that man-made features and monuments survive for centuries, and much human activity in the landscape, including the construction of new monuments, is believed to have been guided by the presence of these monuments of the ancestors. A century is a short time in the lifespan of a monument. On the coast, however, few constructed monuments survive for so long. A recent example may help to illustrate the short-lived nature of monuments in coastal settings. On the North Sea coast of Jutland, between the villages of Lønstrop and Nørre Rubjerg, stands the Rubjerg Kunde lighthouse. Inaugurated in 1900, this 23 m-high lighthouse was taken out of commission in 1968, but the outbuildings were converted into a cafeteria and a museum. These were abandoned in 2002 as the sand dunes covered the outhouses, leaving only the upper part of the lighthouse prey to the dunes. Some of the nearby dunes stand higher than the top of the lighthouse. The site now attracts unprecedented numbers of visitors, who come to see the interplay between human creation and natural forces at work. On the coast, the landscape is changing constantly.

Keywords:   Baltic Sea, Carolingians, Dollart Bay, East Anglia, Fair Isle, Hamburg, Jutland, Kaaidijk, Lauwerszee, Marshchapel

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