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Using Artistic Imagery to Improve Understanding of Coastal Landscape Changes on the Rance Estuary (French Channel Coast)

  • Edwige MotteEmail author
  • Robin McInnes
Original Article

Abstract

Our coasts are subjected to constant changes due to both biophysical and anthropogenic processes, which have been severely increasing over the last two centuries. Long-term diachronic observations of geomorphological evolution should allow a better understanding of how and to what extent natural environments and cultural heritage sites have been affected over time. This paper describes the implementation of a pictures-based methodology, which provides an iconographic interpretation of decades-to-centuries coastal landscape evolution. The chosen location for the field studies is the Rance Estuary (France Channel coast), a 20-km-long ria, which has undergone specific changes because of the long-standing presence of industrial buildings such as shipyards and tide mills and the opening of the world’s first tidal power plant in the 1960s. In order to identify the entire range of alterations that have occurred on the estuarial geosystem over time, a large number of artistic representations of the shores (paintings, engravings and postcards) have been used. The vantage points of the different historical images have been located, and current photos have been taken trying to reproduce, as exactly as possible, the same view in order to allow the precise comparison of diachronic pairs of images. The results of its historical landscape record are disseminated through a dedicated website to which consultees, stakeholders and the public, more widely, may access and contribute by sending new pictures from the past. An interactive online map locates the study sites and allows access to the associated observations and comments, whilst interactive graphs give an overview of the changes that have been identified.

Keywords

Artworks Coastal evolution Sediment dynamics Interactive and participative database 

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Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LETG, UMR CNRS 6554, Geography DepartmentUniversity of Rennes 2RennesFrance
  2. 2.Coastal & Geotechnical ServicesIsle of WightUK

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