Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski


  • Lucille Lewis JohnsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_11-2


Humans have inhabited coastal areas and made use of their resources for hundreds of thousands of years. The richness of the coastal zone, the overlapping of maritime, littoral and inland resources, and the ease of transportation along it have led people to cluster along shores, including the people of today who are destroying much of the record of past inhabitants. However, coastlines are also the most dynamic environments on earth. Tides and currents effect daily and seasonal changes in the shore margin; storms dramatically resculpt the shore; isostatic, eustatic, and tectonic changes (cf. Isostacy, Eustacy, Tectonics, and Neotectonics) can result in former coastlines being located far inland or far out to sea.

In trying to understand the human use of coastlines, it is necessary first to discover where the coast was at the time the site one is interested in was occupied. Due to the ever-changing relationship between the land and the sea, sites of past coastal people may be...

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vassar CollegePoughkeepsieUSA