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Changing Tidal Dynamics and the Role of the Marine Environment in the Maritime Migration to Sahul

Changing Tidal Dynamics and the Role of the Marine Environment in the Maritime Migration to Sahul
Changing Tidal Dynamics and the Role of the Marine Environment in the Maritime Migration to Sahul
The marine environment plays a central role in the migration of Homo sapiens to Sahul c. 65,000 years ago. Despite
the lower mean sea level at this time, humans must have made a maritime crossing from Sunda to Sahul. While
tidal dynamics greatly affect the coastal environment, models of changing paleotidal conditions are frequently
missing from reconstructions of coastal landscapes and maritime conditions in the deep past. At present, northern
Australia is known for its high tidal range and strong current velocity, but tidal dynamics are sensitive to coastal
geometry and water depths that were very different in the past. This paper presents a barotropic hydrodynamic
model of the Australian coast to explore how past tidal dynamics would have caused variations in coastal environments north of Australia, and how tidal currents could have affected seafaring. The results indicate profound but
complex changes in tidal dynamics along the northern Australian coast throughout the Upper Pleistocene, linked
to mean sea level fluctuations, which inform the debate about the peopling of Sahul.
This special issue is guest-edited by William Davies (Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins, University of
Southampton) and Philip R. Nigst (Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology, University of Vienna).
This is article #6 of 14.
Tidal modelling, Sahul, hominin dispersal, seafaring
1545-0031
134-148
Kuijjer, Eveline
badc0f96-1384-40cc-9b6b-e7585a519b2d
Haigh, Ivan
945ff20a-589c-47b7-b06f-61804367eb2d
Marsh, Robert
702c2e7e-ac19-4019-abd9-a8614ab27717
Farr, Helen
4aba646f-b279-4d7a-8795-b0ae9e772fe9
Kuijjer, Eveline
badc0f96-1384-40cc-9b6b-e7585a519b2d
Haigh, Ivan
945ff20a-589c-47b7-b06f-61804367eb2d
Marsh, Robert
702c2e7e-ac19-4019-abd9-a8614ab27717
Farr, Helen
4aba646f-b279-4d7a-8795-b0ae9e772fe9

Kuijjer, Eveline, Haigh, Ivan, Marsh, Robert and Farr, Helen (2022) Changing Tidal Dynamics and the Role of the Marine Environment in the Maritime Migration to Sahul. PaleoAnthropology, 2022 (1), 134-148, [6]. (doi:10.48738/2022.iss1.105).

Record type: Special issue

Abstract

The marine environment plays a central role in the migration of Homo sapiens to Sahul c. 65,000 years ago. Despite
the lower mean sea level at this time, humans must have made a maritime crossing from Sunda to Sahul. While
tidal dynamics greatly affect the coastal environment, models of changing paleotidal conditions are frequently
missing from reconstructions of coastal landscapes and maritime conditions in the deep past. At present, northern
Australia is known for its high tidal range and strong current velocity, but tidal dynamics are sensitive to coastal
geometry and water depths that were very different in the past. This paper presents a barotropic hydrodynamic
model of the Australian coast to explore how past tidal dynamics would have caused variations in coastal environments north of Australia, and how tidal currents could have affected seafaring. The results indicate profound but
complex changes in tidal dynamics along the northern Australian coast throughout the Upper Pleistocene, linked
to mean sea level fluctuations, which inform the debate about the peopling of Sahul.
This special issue is guest-edited by William Davies (Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins, University of
Southampton) and Philip R. Nigst (Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology, University of Vienna).
This is article #6 of 14.

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Accepted/In Press date: June 2021
Published date: 20 April 2022
Keywords: Tidal modelling, Sahul, hominin dispersal, seafaring

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 468493
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/468493
ISSN: 1545-0031
PURE UUID: 2fa39541-ba08-4586-b5e1-5cdcb32b0590
ORCID for Ivan Haigh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9722-3061
ORCID for Helen Farr: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7922-9179

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Date deposited: 16 Aug 2022 16:45
Last modified: 20 Sep 2022 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Eveline Kuijjer
Author: Ivan Haigh ORCID iD
Author: Robert Marsh
Author: Helen Farr ORCID iD

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