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Some thoughts on the monitoring and preservation of waterlogged archeological sites in eastern England

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This study reviews five hydrological monitoring projects used on archeological sites in the waterlogged landscapes of fenland East Anglia and east Yorkshire in England. The project design, recorded variables, and implications of each are discussed. In particular, the importance of understanding the landscape context is paramount, and retrieving an appropriate dataset over a sufficiently lengthy period of time to obtain reliable results and predictability. Some of the lessons learnt and outstanding problems are explored. As former wetlands are fast disappearing around the world through dewatering and a host of wider development threats such as urbanization and gravel extraction, the low intrusion suite of methods described here for measuring the degree and certainty of organic preservation is doubly important for establishing the viability of preservation in situ schemes for waterlogged archeological sites. This is crucial to get right, as wetland archeological records are an irreplaceable resource which offer extraordinarily full and diverse datasets of human lifeways which are all too often either poorly preserved or erroneously interpreted because of the skewed datasets recovered from dryland sites. WIREs Water 2017, 4:e1204. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1204 This article is categorized under: Science of Water > Methods Science of Water > Water and Environmental Change Human Water > Water as Imagined and Represented
The dissolved oxygen values (mg/L) for the reinstatement period between March 2004 and March 2005, compared to preextraction (top) and extraction levels (middle) (D. Redhouse).
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The redox potential values (mV) for the reinstatement period between March 2004 and March 2005, compared to preextraction (top) and extraction levels (middle) (D. Redhouse).
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The groundwater levels for the reinstatement period between March 2004 and March 2005, compared to preextraction (top) and extraction levels (middle) (D. Redhouse).
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Location map of the Over quarry study area and monitoring points (C. Begg/D. Redhouse).
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The June–September 1983 monitoring results showing the dramatic groundwater table fall when the quarry water abstraction began at Etton (V. Herring after C. French).
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Location map of the Etton study and monitoring points (V. Herring after C. French).
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Location map of the monitoring sites in the lower Welland, Nene and Great Ouse valleys and the Cambridgeshire fens (V. Herring after C. Begg).
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The reddened oxidation ‘halo’ creeping variable through the settlement zone deposits as first exposed (01/09/2015) in the recent excavations at Must Farm (C. French).
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Must Farm location map and plan of monitoring points (CAU/SLR/Hanson, 2009).
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Flag Fen location map and known archeology (V. Herring after C. French).
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Human Water > Water as Imagined and Represented
Science of Water > Water and Environmental Change
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