Between winter storm surges - Human occupation on a growing Mid-Holocene transgression maximum (Tapes) beach ridge at Longva, Western Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Substantial amounts of archaeological material have been found intermixed with beach pebbles and cobbles on the Tapes beach ridge at Longva on the island Flemsøya/Skuløya in Western Norway. The artefacts show that the beach ridge was settled in the Late Mesolithic. The most significant remains are fireplaces, birch bark from the floor of a tent/hut, fish sinkers and middens containing numerous waste flakes and lithic tools. Radiocarbon dating, mainly of burnt hazelnut shells, shows two periods of occupation. The older and longer period is dated to between 7600 and 6800 cal yr BP, and the younger phase to between 6200 and 5900 cal yr BP. Pollen analysis revealed open vegetation at the beach ridge during the occupation periods. Based on the beach ridge deposits and radiocarbon dates, we reconstructed the Tapes transgression maximum high tide sea level to 8.2–9.0 m between 7600 and 5600 cal yr BP. We conclude that the late Mesolithic inhabitants at Longva occupied the beach ridge while it was growing. During the largest storm surges – most likely to have been in the winter months – the sea would have washed over their settlements and deposited pebbles and cobbles on top of their remains. We suggest that the inhabitants abandoned the settlement before each stormy season, but returned and restored the site the following spring or summer.