The land-sea transition zone at Doelpolder Noord. The impact of sea level rise on the palaeolandscape and human occupation

Start - End 
2011 - 2015 (completed)
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Region 
Research Language 
Research Methodology 
Additional tags 
Wetland archaeology
Radiocarbon modelling
Sea level rise
Survey techniques



The significance of coastal and estuarine areas for understanding former human life and palaeolandscapes is nowadays recognized internationally. The large preservation potential of these sites, on the transition of the terrestrial and marine environment, makes them ideal to study the evolution of the palaeolandscape through time. Whereas onshore coastal research in Belgium has developed over recent years, the survey of marine and estuarine waters for archaeological purposes is still in its infancy.

In this project we aim to develop a specific interdisciplinary research strategy, combining geophysical (EMI, land seismic, …) and geotechnical (CPT) methods both onshore and offshore, for a structured and cost-effective exploration of buried palaeolandscapes and their archaeological significance across the land-sea transition zone.

The focus-area is a specific section of the Scheldt polders (Doelpolder Noord), known to be rich in well-preserved prehistoric sites and landscapes. By bridging the gap between the present onshore and offshore coast (including the intertidal zone) a detailed and continuous picture can be obtained of the gradual drowning and evolution of the landscape and its effects on the human occupation, from the prehistory to medieval times. This methodology can then be applied to other similar coastal areas in Belgium and abroad.




Phd Student(s)