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Sunken landscapes and settlement areas. On the reconquest of underwater archaeological sites

Cyril Dworsky

Cite this as: Dworsky, C. 2023 Sunken landscapes and settlement areas. On the reconquest of underwater archaeological sites, Internet Archaeology 62.


Documenting the shallow water area in lake Keutschach with a GPS-measuring buoy
Documenting the shallow water area in lake Keutschach with a GPS-measuring buoy (Image: Kuratorium Pfahlbauten)

Prehistoric lake dwellings around the Alps have been of great interest to researchers and are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. These sites offer challenging but favourable building locations around a lake with constantly changing water levels, which likely resulted in a lot of movement from people and nature over time. When water levels rose, these sites were taken over by aquatic plants and animals. But owing to climate change, neozoa and neophytes are spreading quickly into new habitats. It is important to document and monitor these developments in order to understand the extent and potential threat of these species in different areas.

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  • Keywords: underwater sites, serial transnational UNESCO sites, Austria, heritage management, heritage conservation, human impact, climate change
  • Accepted: 14 November 2022. Published: 23 March 2023
  • Funding: The publication of this article is funded by the European Archaeological Council.
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Corresponding author: Cyril Dworsky
University of Vienna/Kuratorium Pfahlbauten

Full text

Figure 1: Map of the 111 sites inscribed as serial, transnational property at the UNESCO World Heritage list (©International Coordination Group Palafittes)

Figure 2: Pikeperches at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Keutschacher See in Carinthia/Austria (©Kuratorium Pfahlbauten)

Figure 3: Dense coverage of the lake bottom with Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) at the Iron Age site of Traunkirchen in Upper Austria (©Kuratorium Pfahlbauten)

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