Sea Level Change

As part of the Dorset Coast Historic Environment Survey, Wessex Archaeology has created a model of sea level change from the Late Upper Palaeolithic (12,000-10,000 years ago) to the Mid Saxon Period (650-850AD).
The model was created by combining data on past sea levels, maps of bathymetry (water depth) and contour data (land heights). It has become clear that Dorset’s Coast changed rapidly from the Late Upper Palaeolithic to the Early Neolithic period (from around 10,000 up to 6,000 years ago) due to sea level rise. After this time, the coastline has seen fewer dramatic changes. However, some areas, such as Poole Harbour, only began to approach their current size and shape comparatively recently.
This is the first such model of the evolution of Dorset’s Coast. Models of this kind provide researchers with a valuable tool for identifying areas on the seabed likely to contain evidence of human occupation occurring before sea levels rose, improving our knowledge of past landscapes and human activity beyond the modern shoreline.