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Stonehenge surrounded by sea with papyrus boat 97mtrs
Sphinx surrounded by water 25mtr sea level

Mapping the ancient world

In ancient times (Holocene), Global sea levels were very different from today and varied greatly over time due to tectonic and isostatic adjustment.

Ice melt caused world sea levels to rise about 35 m (115 ft) in the early part of the Holocene. In addition, many areas above about 40 degrees north latitude had been depressed by the weight of the Pleistocene glaciers and rose as much as 180 m (590 ft) due to post-glacial rebound over the late Pleistocene and Holocene, and are still rising today.

We can consider geographically the circumstances in the different ages, the Stone Age, Copper Age, Bronze Age and Iron Ages, and the Ancient Cultures in different parts of the world.

Courtesy of the Map Archive
Royal Residences in the New Kingdom from 1550 [1]


In Egypt around 1500 bce the sea would have covered much more of the land.

Henges and circles in the UK[2]


What is the explanation for the location of these land bound neolithic sites?

What is the explanation for the finds of sea or marine shells on the high ground around Stonehenge and Durrington Walls and Woodhenge?

What was the source of water for the "The valley bottom also presented Neolithic people with a......floodplain was a treeless, wet, sedge fen, a more or less permanent swamp"

Many Neolithic sites in the UK are placed in locations that are not near the sea and few neolithic remains are on the low lying land in the East of England.

These Neolithic Sites were built at the edge of the sea which had a much higher level then.


Similarly, in China

North America

The sea level rise and temporary land depression allowed temporary marine incursions into areas that are now far from the sea. Holocene marine fossils are known from Vermont, Quebec, Ontario, Maine, New Hampshire, and Michigan.[3] For example see the Champlain Sea and the Copper mines at Lake Superior

  1. Courtesy of the Map Archive
  2. The Map Archive
  3. Geologypage[1]