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New ways to chart our maritime past
Date:8/19/2010

"Archaeology has a long-standing tradition in protecting areas on land. But unfortunately, there is little attention to cultural monuments at the sea-shore and under water," says meteorologist Marianne Nitter at the University of Stavanger's Museum of Archaeology.

"These may include mooring and landing sites, jetties, boat-houses, standing stones and house remains objects which can inform us about prehistoric maritime culture and our ancestors' mobility and travelling routes," she adds.

Together with her colleague, geologist Lotte Selsing, and marine archaeologist Endre Elvestad at Stavanger Maritime Museum, Nitter has studied the protection of maritime cultural monuments.

These objects are very vulnerable, as they are exposed to rising sea levels, increasing maritime traffic and extreme weather, she explains. Tall waves and more frequent storm surges can obliterate them altogether.

"The process of recording underwater and near-shore cultural artefacts was initiated relatively late in Norway, so we simply don't know how many of them there are. And we cannot protect monuments that are neither located nor registered," Nitter says.

Introducing climate-space

To help locating these artefacts, Nitter has introduced the concept of 'climate-space'. Inspired by the term 'landscape room', this concept enables archaeologist to convey and incorporate abstract meteorological phenomena into the field of archaeology.

A climate-space is an area with homogenous temperature, precipitation, wind direction and wind force, Nitter explains. Valleys, groves, mountains, lakes, fiords and slopes are all examples of local climate-spaces.

The area is defined by topography and vegetation, which limits the occurrence of various weather phenomena. Furthermore, a climate-space is defined by calculating the weather phenomena's time scale, the climate parameter to which you relate it to such as temperature, rain
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Contact: Siri Pedersen
siri.pedersen@uis.no
475-183-2632
University of Stavanger
Source:Eurekalert

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