Shedding light on medieval landscape transformation in the North Sea coastal plain: an interdisciplinary approach combining retrogressive analysis, deposit modeling and optically stimulated luminescence profiling and dating

Project Details


This project aims to better understand the dynamic nature of the
North Sea coastal plain during the Middle Ages, and the strategies
people developed to live in this wetland landscape, especially for the
earliest phases of reclamation in the first millennium AD, which are
currently neither well-studied nor well-understood. This requires
identifying, examining and accurately dating the traces of earlier
natural and manmade features – such as palaeochannels, drainage
systems and embankments – left in the current landscape. To
achieve this, I will apply a novel and interdisciplinary approach.
Retrogressive analysis and subsurface deposit modeling will be used
in parallel to create a detailed spatial framework and relative
sequence of manmade and natural landscape features. To add the
necessary chronological depth, this will be combined with optically
stimulated luminescence profiling and dating (OSL-PD), an
innovative technique which has shown unique potential for unraveling
the entire formation and development sequence of earthworks by
providing absolute dates. The methodology has the potential to
revolutionise our understanding of past water management strategies
and the landscapes they were implemented in. It will be applied to
three case study areas around the North Sea coastal plain, which will
be analysed both individually and in a wider comparative framework:
(1) North-East Lincolnshire (UK), (2) South-West Jutland (DK), and
(3) the Flemish Middle Coast (BE)
Effective start/end date1/10/2130/09/24


  • human impact on the coastal landscape in the Middle Ages
  • GIS analyses
  • OSL profiling and dating

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Geochronology
  • Geomorphology and landscape evolution


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