The Archaeology of Europe’s Drowned Landscapes: Introduction and Overview

Geoff Bailey, Nena Galanidou, Hans Peeters, Hauke Jöns, Moritz Mennenga

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This is the final volume of the SPLASHCOS research network and marks the completion of an international and collaborative survey to compile and evaluate the known records of underwater material around Europe’s coastlines, deposited during periods of low sea level and subsequently drowned by sea-level rise at the end of the Last Glacial Period. Some of these underwater finds, especially those exposed in the intertidal zone, have been known about since the last century but have languished in obscure publications, museum archives, or national sites and monument records. Systematic underwater investigation and excavation did not begin until the 1970s and only then in a few research centres, notably in Denmark, Bulgaria, and Israel. Only since the turn of the new millennium has this field of underwater research come into focus as a significant missing part of the archaeological record, and many new investigations have begun or gained new momentum during the past decade, not least because of improved technologies of marine exploration and remote sensing, intensified industrial exploitation of the seabed, and collaboration between offshore industries, government agencies, and commercial archaeologists. The material reviewed here covers 20 countries bordering all the major marine basins from the Atlantic coasts of Ireland and Norway to the Black Sea and from the western Baltic to the eastern Mediterranean. Nearly 3000 underwater find spots are known, ranging from isolated artefacts to in situ settlements and spanning a period from c. 1 million years ago to the establishment of modern sea level between 7000 and 2000 years ago. In this introductory chapter, we outline the history of investigations, highlight the importance of this underwater record for a better understanding of European (and world) prehistory, explain the rationale for the research and the way we have structured the volume, and summarise some key issues. The chapters are organised in four parts, and each part is prefaced by its own editorial introduction summarising key themes for that group of chapters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Archaeology of Europe’s Drowned Landscapes
EditorsGeoffrey Bailey, Nena Galanidou, Hans Peeters, Hauke Jöns, Moritz Mennenga
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic) 9783030373672
ISBN (Print) 9783030373665
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameCoastal Research Library
ISSN (Print)2211-0577
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0585

Bibliographical note

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020. This book is an open access publication.Open Access This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence and indicate if changes were made.The images or other third party material in this book are included in the book’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the book’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use.The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations


  • Sea-level change
  • Submerged landscapes
  • Underwater archaeology
  • Cultural heritage
  • Stone Age


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