Adapting Archaeology: Foresight for Climate Change in the UK
The Adapting Archaeology conference was held at the British Academy on 10 July 2007. It brought together seventy archaeologists from organisations around the UK to explore forward-thinking on the likely effects of climate change for the historic environment and how archaeology and conservation need to adapt to meet this new challenge. An introduction by Dr Gill Chitty, Head of Conservation at CBA is followed by summaries of each paper with links to Powerpoint presentations and associated references and concludes with a report by Rowan Whimster.
Right click the links and ‘Save Target As…’ or ‘Save Link As…’ to download the PDFs of the presentations (requires Adobe Acrobat/Reader v6 or above or equivalent software).
- Introduction – Dr Gill Chitty, Head of Conservation, Council for British Archaeology (45KB)
- Assessing the effects of climate change in the UK – Roger Street, Technical Director, UK Climate Impacts Programme (1.72MB)
- Cultural heritage vulnerability: an overview of current research and policy implications – Professor May Cassar, Centre for Sustainable Heritage, UCL
- Managing change in the coastal zone – Peter Murphy, English Heritage (2.31MB)
- Managing effects on soils and water – Ed Wilson, Environment Agency (1.95MB)
- Adapting to rural land use change: a view from ALGAO UK – Ken Smith, Peak District National Park (65KB)
- Climate change in our backyard: a view from the National Trust – Dr David Thackray, National Trust (5.12MB)
- Shorewatch: Involving local communities – Dr Tom Dawson, SCAPE Trust (8.92MB)
- Conference Report – Rowan Whimster, Trustee, Council for British Archaeology (CBA Newsletter #3
Dr Gill Chitty, Head of Conservation, Council for British Archaeology
Download Introduction (45KB)
Assessing the effects of climate change in the UK
Roger Street, Technical Director, UK Climate Impacts Programme
What are the climate scenarios for the UK in broad terms for the next century and beyond as a result of projected global climate change? What do we know about the change that has taken place already? Temperature changes, changes in rainfall and the associated projections for drought and heavy rainfall; sea-level rise and storm surges; changing seasonality; and extreme weather. This paper will present the context of scientific knowledge about climate change and an overview of the implications for environmental effects, including a look forward to the new UKCIP scenarios due to be launched in the autumn of 2008 with regional and sub-regional visualisations.
Download Roger Street’s presentation (1.72MB)
- Links from the presentation
- UKCIP www.ukcip.org.uk
For the latest information from UKCIP on UK 21st century climate scenarios see www.ukcip.org.uk/scenarios
Cultural heritage vulnerability: an overview of current research and policy implications
Professor May Cassar, Centre for Sustainable Heritage, UCL
Over the last 3 years (2005, 2006 and 2007) three key reports and expert meetings involving scientists working on heritage, conservators and heritage managers have begun to provide clear signposts for the future direction of scientific research activities in the area of climate change and cultural heritage. This presentation will include an overview of these milestones, future prospects for research under the EC 7th Framework Programme and policy implications at a national and European level.
- Links from the presentation
- Centre for Sustainable Heritage, UCL
- Climate change and the historic environment report, commissioned by English Heritage published in 2005, is a major scoping study on climate change and the historic environment including historic buildings and standing structures, buried archaeology, parks and gardens. The report was carried out with strong regional participation from heritage managers in the East of England and the North West of England as well as scientists and policy makers.
- Engineering historic futures: stakeholders dissemination and scientific research report was published in 2006 and investigates the technological issues of the effects of changing moisture balance on the historic fabric. It gains an increased understanding of the wetting properties and drying processes of historic masonry walls and combines the investigation of two case studies, Blickling Hall in Norfolk and Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran, together with laboratory experiments and the application of computer simulation modelling.
- NOAH’S ARK – global climate change impact of the built heritage and cultural landscapes - an EC initiative involving a consortium of European research organisations.
- Global climate change impact on built heritage and cultural landscapes: deliverable 8 ‘Web-based climate risk maps’, submitted June 2006.
- Results of model predictions for different drying out strategies and climate change scenarios, submitted January 2007 (D10).
- NOAH’S ARK deliverables 6 to 15 can all be accessed by contacting the Project Co-ordinator, Cristina Sabbioni.
Managing change in the coastal zone
Peter Murphy, English Heritage
Climatically-driven coastal change will have severe effects on the coastal historic environment in the 21st century, but in the shorter term the impacts of coastal management policies will be of greater significance. This presentation will begin with a short review of coastal historic assets in England, followed by an outline of coastal / maritime legislation, planning guidance and regulation, focusing on the process of Shoreline Management Plan review. In order to provide the evidence base for informed management of the historic environment, English Heritage is undertaking a national programme of Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys, and progress will be outlined. Finally, possible approaches to mitigation at specific threatened sites will be considered.
Download Peter Murphy’s presentation (2.31MB)
- Links from the presentation
- English Heritage
- Shoreline management plan review and the historic environment, English Heritage 2006; Download PDFs of the report and guidance
- Additional publications:
Managing effects on soils and water
Ed Wilson, Environment Agency
What does climate change mean for soil management, water quality and management of water catchments and carbon sinks? The implications of longer growing seasons, at extended altitudes, and of changing agricultural practice will affect both significantly. Recent research on impacts on uplands as an indicator of accelerating change shows how vulnerable they are both to drought and erosion, and changing vegetation cover. Action to protect the vulnerability of peatlands in particular is identified as a priority for conservation.
Download Ed Wilson’s presentation (1.95MB)
- Links from the Powerpoint presentation
Adapting to rural land use change: a view from ALGAO UK
Ken Smith, Peak District National Park
Are we looking ahead to intensification of arable agriculture, mass cultivation of biomass and bioenergy crops, and a market-led farming economy competing with agri-environment schemes in the countryside? What might actual changes in climate mean for local distinctiveness and historic landscape character with increasing drought, storm damage and flooding? What are the issues for traditional rural buildings and how will new carbon targets affect the way buildings in the countryside are adapted? Part of the challenge will be setting new thresholds for what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of the risks and impacts of climate change and the scale and pace at which it occurs.
Download Ken Smith’s presentation (65KB)
- Links from the paper
Climate change in our backyard: a view from the National Trust
Dr David Thackray, National Trust
While individual weather events cannot be directly blamed on climate change, such as the Boscastle flooding or a ‘mini tornado’ in the Lake District, it is apparent that these events are part of trends which are consistent with what the scientists and data tell us has been happening to our climate over recent years. Flooding and water damage to buildings; erosion on the coastline and ‘soft’ management solutions; the never-ending growing season; are all part of an increasingly complex range of environmental pressures on vulnerable historic places. The National Trust, through the management of its thousands of properties and estate in the countryside, brings a breadth of practical experience in tackling some of the difficult choices that lie ahead.
Download David Thackery’s presentation (5.12MB)
Shorewatch: Involving local communities
Dr Tom Dawson, SCAPE Trust
Archaeology is now dealing with losses of archaeological sites and landscapes on a scale we have not seen before both in terms of gradual, incremental losses and catastrophic events. Shorewatch aims to encourage and assist members of local communities to locate, record and monitor archaeological sites around Scotland’s coast. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of sites that are known about locally, but which remain unreported. Many of these sites are threatened by erosion and may soon be destroyed. Local groups are in an ideal position to examine such places, as they are able to draw upon local knowledge and are on-hand to note damage or changes that occur after storms or extreme high tides.
Download Tom Dawson’s presentation (8.92MB)
Rowan Whimster, Trustee, Council for British Archaeology
See the Adapting Archaeology conference feature in CBA Newsletter issue 3.
The conference was organised jointly by the Council for British Archaeology with the Council for Scottish Archaeology and the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University College London.
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