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The impact of climate change on archaeological resources in Britain: a catchment scale assessment

Howard, A. J., Challis, K., Holden, J., Kincey, M., Passmore, D. G.
Climatic change 2008 v.91 no.3-4 pp. 405-422
climate change, cultural heritage, decision making, environmental policy, farming systems, floods, humans, risk reduction, rivers, watersheds, United Kingdom
This paper illustrates the potential impact of future climate change on the archaeological resource of river catchments, specifically in Britain, but with reference to other examples across the globe, when considering issues of generic applicability. It highlights an area of the environmental record often neglected by policy makers and environmental planners when considering the impact of climate change; where cultural heritage has been considered in the past, an emphasis has been placed on the historic built environment and major monuments. Through studying the recent past, particularly the last 1,000 years, geomorphologists and geoarchaeologists can add much empirical data to these debates concerning system response. In addition to the impact of the changing intensity and pattern of natural geomorphic processes, human response to climate change ranging from new farming practices through to the implementation of mitigation strategies to minimise the effects of increased flood frequency and magnitude could be equally as damaging to the archaeological record if not managed through informed decision making.