This chapter discusses wetland occupations during the Pleistocene, early Holocene, mid- to late Holocene, and Contact Period. Several sites, associated with ancient lake systems and minor swamps, are dated to the Pleistocene, and there is some evidence of occupation in the early Holocene. However, most archaeological evidence of wetlands occupation in Australia comes from the mid- to late Holocene period. During this period, post-Pleistocene rising sea levels flooded Australia's coastline and created numerous estuarine and freshwater wetlands on the coastal plains in northern and southern Australia, and modern rivers and floodplains were formed inland. Finally, ethnohistoric and ethnographic accounts make the Contact Period a rich source of detail regarding recent Aboriginal use of wetlands.
Europe's Wetlands from the Migration Period to the Middle Ages: Settlement, Exploitation, and Transformation, 400–1500
This chapter explores the occupation, exploitation, and transformation of European wetland environments from the Migration Period (
Francesco Menotti and Aidan O'Sullivan
This chapter first offers a general definition of wetland archaeology. It then provides an overview of the chapters included in this Handbook, which cover as many parts of the world as possible and discuss a wide range of topics such as wetland landscapes, settlements, and buildings; methods and techniques for archaeological investigations; and international, national, and local responses to the destruction of, and damage to, wetland and wet archaeological sites. The chapter also argues that at a time of global economic and climate change concerns, it has become more and more evident that wetland archaeologists need to engage with the general public in a more holistic way. It is in fact crucial that people are aware, not only of the results achieved by wetland archaeology, but also of the numerous problems that the discipline and indeed the entire archaeological evidence face.
This chapter discusses the prehistoric environment in the lower regions of the Yangtze River; human adaptation to the wetlands; food production reflected by animal and plant remains; and wetland reclamation for cultivating rice. Warmer climates after the last glaciation melted the ice caps, causing sea levels to rise at the beginning of the Holocene. During this period, the coastline reached even the areas between Zhenjiang and Yangzhou in lower regions of the Yangtze River. In the Mid-Holocene (c. 7500 BP), sea levels regressed again and the Yangtze Delta was formed. This ‘new’ wetland prairie-like landscape with a large number of rivers and lakes provided a rich habitat with abundant plants, mammals, birds, and fish, as well as wetland areas for rice cultivation. Subsequently, Neolithic cultures such as the Hemudu Culture moved into this region and took advantage of the rich environment.