Abstract

This paper presents a new approach to the identification of cultural heritage resources in the Northern Caspian. With the analysis of historic sea-levels, the results of selective archaeological ground survey, satellite imagery, remote sensing technology lidar data, geomorphological analysis and historic mapping, it was possible to identify and map the prehistoric coastal landscape. These studies documented a cultural landscape along the north-eastern Caspian coast that had previously remained largely unknown, even by local specialists. They have demonstrated how the exceptional nature of the Caspian – as an inland sea – have both attracted human populations throughout history, and then often hidden the traces of this settlement as the result of landscape change. It has also revealed widespread remains of a largely forgotten recent past, with the sites of many Kazakh cemeteries and winter farms. Our approach has been to document these constraints as clearly as possible, to assess the level of risk they represent to planned and existing developments, and to provide clear management solutions. In doing so, we have been able to develop strategies that maintain our clients' operational objectives and programmes while preserving - and adding new insights into - the exceptional heritage of the region.

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