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Resilience or wipe out? Evaluating the convergent impacts of the 8.2 ka event and Storegga tsunami on the Mesolithic of northeast Britain

Waddington, C. and Wicks, K. (2017) Resilience or wipe out? Evaluating the convergent impacts of the 8.2 ka event and Storegga tsunami on the Mesolithic of northeast Britain. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 14. pp. 692-714. ISSN 2352-409X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.04.015

Abstract/Summary

The potential impact of the abrupt 8.2 ka cold event and the Storegga Slide tsunami on human demography, settlement patterns and culture in the North Sea Basin and its hinterlands has emerged as a key question and research theme. Following on from a paper that evaluated the impact of the 8.2 ka event on the Mesolithic population of western Scotland that employed a Bayesian analysis of the radiocarbon record to identify ‘activity events’ as a proxy for the human population size (Wicks and Mithen, 2014), we have employed a similar approach to assess the impact on the northeast British population. We find evidence for a significant population decline similar to the results from western Scotland, especially in coastal locations, although there is evidence for subtle differences in the data. We interpret this as reflecting significant and rapid population reductions amongst both low density inland populations and higher density coastal populations. The geographical location and topography of the northeast British littoral in relation to the Storegga tsunami meant that populations living along this coastline were likely to be some of the most vulnerable to, and heavily affected by, the impacts of this catastrophic environmental event. In combination with the western Scotland study this research supports the probability that there was significant population collapse resulting from abrupt and profound climatic and vegetation change augmented by the Storegga megaslide tsunami.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:70175
Publisher:Elsevier

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