Succession: Artist’s Impression of a Coastal Settlement

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Installation view (photo: Royal West of England Academy)

This model represents a coastal settlement as it may have looked in the early post-catalystic period, c. 2150-2200 AD. The settlers have squatted the ruins of a city abandoned after it was flooded by rising sea levels in an earlier century. The storm barrier still visible along the sea front was originally part of sea defences constructed by the British government during the early stages of climatic upheaval. Though it eventually proved ineffectual as a barrier to rising sea levels, the structure now acts as a dam to create a semi-tidal lagoon, providing the sheltered semi-aquatic environment which later attracted settlers to the site. Improvements to the waterfront have enabled the inhabitants to regulate water levels in the lagoon, though the settlement would probably still have been subject to flooding during severe storms and exceptional spring tides.

The settlement would most likely have begun as a mining community exploiting the residual material resources on the site, but the fisheries and sheltered location would have helped make it an attractive place to settle. By that time, populations of the more resilient fish species, such as herring and mackerel, would have begun to recover from their decimation at the end of the previous millennium, and might provide a significant portion of the local diet. All the townspeople would probably have taken part in fishing, sorting the catch, or maintaining the boats and nets.

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

photo : richard j andersen

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