Humans Through Time and Space > Coastal and Maritime Adaptations

Dr Jonathan Benjamin

Collaborating Institutions:
Moesgaard Museum, Denmark

The shallow waters of southern Scandinavia are unparalleled in their abundance of submerged prehistoric sites, a result of post-glacial sea-level rise and its impact on coastal societies during the early Holocene. Settlement and resource procurement and processing centres are common and the optimal conditions of low, stable temperature in a relatively sheltered underwater environments of gytja and compact sediment has led to extremely well preserved material from the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. Recent investigations near Falden demonstrate the importance of a proactive approach to site investigation and active management. Further, the recent discoveries at Hjarnø represent what could be a considered a model for the evaluation of submerged middens, a process that will be studied for the potential global export to study coastal shell deposits in offshore contexts around the world.

Selected Publications:
Benjamin, J., C. Bonsall, C. Pickard and A. Fischer (eds) 2011 Submerged Prehistory. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 

Benjamin, J. 2010 Submerged prehistoric landscapes and underwater site discovery:  Reevaluating the 'Danish model' for international practice. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 7(2):253-270.