Week 3

Explore further – extended reading

Our changing seas

  • Clip from the BBC series Coast on the impact of climate change. Discussion on the causes of climate change and its impact on sea levels across the world. A focus on the effects of this on the UK coastline, and in particular on the sea levels in the south east of England and the Fens area. (3:09)
  • Clip from the BBC series Coast on how the Ice Age affected the Norfolk coastline. The shape of the Norfolk coastline has been determined by successive ice ages, which have carved the land into its current profile. Core samples taken from the sea bed reveal how the North Sea was once dry land connected to the rest of Europe. Animal bones dredged up from the North Sea reveal elephants, hippos and rhinos once lived in this ancient marshland environment. (5:36)
  • Prehistoric climate change. A 33 second video produced by Wessex Archaeology as part of the Explore the Seafloor project.
  • Clip from the BBC series Coast on the erosion of the English South coast. Discussion of how coastal erosion occurs focusing on the coastal areas and cliffs of southern England. (00:45)
  • Clip from the BBC series Coast on coastal erosion and landforms. An explanation of the causes of coastal erosion and the development of coastal erosion landforms. The rate of coastal erosion varies due to factors such as the make-up of the cliffs and the strength of the waves. Coastal erosion leads to the formation of cliffs, headlands, caves, arches, stacks and stumps. Erosion is a problem where homes are close to the cliff edge, for example at Haisborough in Norfolk. Sea defences can be used to protect these areas. (2:31)
  • Clip from the BBC series Coast on The Gower Peninsula – physical and human change. The Gower Peninsula has attracted many visitors and in 1956 it was designated the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Human settlement on the Gower can be traced back 30 000 years. In 1823 an ancient human burial was discovered in a cave on the coast. These remains became known as the ‘Red Lady of Paviland’ and have revealed much about the changing coastline and the lives of early hunter-gather communities. (2:20)
  • Clip from the BBC series Coast on the landforms created by longshore drift and coastal deposition. Longshore drift and the formation of spits, barrier beaches and tombolos are explained with case studies. Longshore drift moves material along the coastline and creates spits, such as those found at Blakeney and Spurn. Barroer beaches are formed where spits are joined to the mainland at both ends, trapping water behind in a lagoon; an example of this can be seen at Slapton in Devon. Tombolos are found where barrier beaches form a bridge between an island and the mainland; an example of this is Chesil Beach in Dorset. (1:56)
  • Clip from the BBC series Coast on how the fens were created. A description of the impact of human intervention on the shape of our coastline, with particular reference to the Fens. The Fens lie on the East coast of England. They were created when mudflats were drained using artificial waterways to make space for agricultural land. This dramatic change has altered the shape of the coastline and created miles of fertile farmland. Reclamation continued until the 1970s, but with sea levels currently rising, the management of the fens may need to reconsidered. (3:11)
  • Ancestors on the beach. Patricia Ash explores the evidence of our ancestors on the coast – and how they lived their lives. An Open University resource.

Geophysical techniques: using bathymetry and geophysics to locate shipwrecks

Submerged landscapes

If the sunken cities of Ancient Egypt are of particular interest to you, you may be able to obtain a copy of the Discovery Channel programme: Cleopatra’s Palace – In search of a legend.

Shipwrecks and seafaring

Miscellaneous resources that may be of interest to you.

  • Clip from the BBC series Coast on coastal flooding in the UK. In 1953 a deep depression off the coast of the UK caused a tidal surge to build up in the Atlantic. The surge caused extensive flooding along the East coast of Britain, killing 307 people and leaving 40 000 homeless. Canvey Island was hit hard due to its low-lying pre-fabricated housing. The banks of earth which defended the island were quickly breached and all 160 000 acres of Canvey Island were flooded. (4:07)
  • Nautilus live. Explore the ocean live with Dr Robert Ballard and the Corps of Exploration.
  • If you are interested in ocean currents, this recent news story may be of interest to you: The Cornish beaches where Lego keeps washing up.
  • Thousands of containers fall off ships every year. What happens to them? Article from The Huffington Post, July 2014.
  • Arch-Manche: Archaeology, Art and Coastal Heritage. The Arch-Manche project will be delivered through three core activities; Activity one involves the study of archaeology, palaeoenvironmental data and coastal heritage features to demonstrate coastal change. Activity two involves the study of artistic representations of coast, recording geology, geomorphology and coastal heritage, and the third activity aims to seamlessly integrate the results from activities one and two using GIS software as well as developing a range of illustrative presentations.
  • Gresham College lecture on ‘Vanishing Archaeology: The Greenwich Foreshore’.


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