Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Allan S. Gilbert

Submerged Continental Shelf Prehistory

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4409-0_121

Introduction

Over 3,000 submerged prehistoric occupation sites on the continental shelf are known worldwide, varying in depth from the nearshore to about 100 m and ranging in age from 5,000 years to 0.5–1.0 million years. Sites have been found off the coast of every continent except Antarctica. These findings are consistent with the climatic fluctuations of the Pleistocene glacial cycles, the repeated lowering of global sea levels to about –130 m, and the extension of adjacent continental climate, vegetation, freshwater drainage, and fauna onto the exposed continental shelf land surfaces. The inclusion of the prehistoric populations and cultures of the continental shelf into world prehistory has a substantial impact on our understanding of the development of coastal resources, population density and distribution, movements of populations, specialized coastal technologies, diet, and early seafaring. Although submerged sites and submerged Pleistocene terrestrial landscapes have been...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Oceanography CentreUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK