The Ukraine: In Search of Submerged Late Palaeolithic Sites on the North-Western Black Sea Shelf
Coastal Research Library
The continental shelf offshore of the Ukraine coast represents one of the largest areas of submerged landscape in the Black Sea, comparable to the extensive shelf areas of Northwest Europe. The general region has a long history of Palaeolithic occupation and numerous archaeological sites associated with the major river systems draining from the north, including many famous Palaeolithic settlements. The submerged landscape exposed during periods of low sea level would have offered an extensive
... ered an extensive and attractive extra increment of land. Underwater archaeological survey in the Black Sea has so far failed to produce convincing evidence of pre-Holocene sites, but the expectation that the Ukrainian shelf harbours Late Upper Palaeolithic sites is strengthened by the presence of occasional flint artefacts in sediment cores recovered from the shelf area during geological surveys. This chapter develops a predictive model for identifying target areas in the search for Late Palaeolithic sites on this submerged landscape. We focus on the Dniester-Kuyalnik region and analyse the location and distribution of on-land Late Palaeolithic sites in relation to the topographic and palaeoenvironmental features of their local surroundings to identify key determinants of site location. We then use the maps produced by the many hundreds of sediment sequences recovered by drilling and coring on the shelf, many radiometrically dated, to identify similar features on the submerged landscape. We also assess the likelihood of site preservation and visibility under different scenarios-rapid or gradual-of sea-level rise. A preliminary test of the model was attempted with remotely operated vehicles, video and acoustic equipment, but was terminated prematurely by logistic problems, and further investigation awaits improved funding.