Project No.: lzp-2018/1-0171
Implementation period: 31 August 2018 – 31 August 2021
Project costs: EUR 300 000
Principal investigator:  Dr. archaeol. Valdis Bērziņš

The project goal is to trace the main vectors and significant turning points in the long-term development of Latvia’s sandy coastal belt, focusing on resource use and the interaction between human activities and the non-human forces shaping this dynamic and sensitive landscape. Past settlement and resource use in the coastal belt will be characterised in relation to landscape transformations, with particular attention to water-level change, wind action and vegetation cover. Finally, the different strands of evidence will be assembled in order to identify key features of long-term coastal change. The “landscape biography” concept permits us to explore how the landscape has been transmitted and reshaped from prehistory to the present, viewing the landscape at each point in time as the interim outcome of an interplay between agency, structure and process.

Building on previous collaboration and further strengthening interdisciplinary ties, the project brings together archaeological and historical research with a spectrum of natural sciences methods: mapping and luminescence dating of ancient shorelines, palynology, dendrochronology and wood charcoal analysis. The results will be communicated in 13 scientific articles. We also envisage significant socioeconomic impacts, since we will offer a new understanding of the long-term development of this landscape to a range of different stakeholders in planning and development.  

Connection with the priority direction “Latvia’s statehood, language and values, culture and art”: the project applies new methods and technologies in research on Latvia’s archaeological heritage and addresses the history of development of technology and society’s capacity to adapt in the context of various economic challenges. Connection with the priority direction “Climate change, nature protection and environment”: the project includes research on ecology. Connection with the priority direction “Research and sustainable use of local natural resources for the development of a knowledge-based bioeconomy”: the project includes research on soils and the earth as the basic resource for agriculture.

Project website