Drowned villages of the Scheldt. A geoarchaeological study of late medieval settlement and landscape in the context of climate change.

01 January 2024 → 31 December 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Archaeology of the Low countries or Belgium
    • Geoarchaeology
    • Landscape archaeology
    • Medieval archaeology
    • Settlement archaeology
Drowned medieval villages and landscapes Intertidal landscape Archaeological prospection
Project description

The human occupation history of highly dynamic natural environments such as sedimentary coastal landscapes is profoundly characterised by an unstable nature. Natural processes and anthropogenic activity are intrinsically intertwined and often generate mutually reinforcing effects, disturbing or even disrupting occupation. These specific environmental and settlement conditions also impose significant challenges to the detection, analysis, monitoring and conservation of this underwater cultural heritage in the sub- and intertidal zones, particularly in context of climate change and sea level rise. This project addresses these challenges by pooling the expertise of three leading research groups in the field of landscape-archaeology and geophysical research. An integrated non-invasive research methodology is devised to study and reconstruct a unique lost ‘drowned village’ settlement landscape, dating to the transition from the medieval to early modern period, and located on the intertidal flats of the river Eastern Scheldt. The project aims at the morphological and topographical characterisation of two lost villages and their surrounding rural landscapes, as well as at the development of a methodological protocol for studying and monitoring the state of preservation of ‘lost settlements’ in the context of climate change in similar natural environments.