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Thesis on the graduate college EGAAL

Thesis : Chronology of Holocene Coastal Sand Drift Events along the Atlantic coasts of Europe: role of climate and implication on coastal landscapes and societies (ChronoDune)

Keywords: coastal dune, chronology, OSL dating, geomorphology,

Useful information

  • Research unit: laboratory LETG (UMR 6554 CNRS),
  • Research team: laboratory LETG, site of Brest, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Rue Dumont d'Urville, 29280 Plouzané – France,
  • Supervisors: Pr. Serge SUANEZ (University of Brest) & Guillaume GUERIN (CNRS, University of Rennes)
  • Thesis co supervising: Pierre Stéphan (CNRS, University of Brest)
  • Funding: EUR ISBLUE (, Flagship project SEALEX
  • Doctoral affiliation: Laboratory LETG – UMR 6554 CNRS, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, PLOUZANE
  • Partnership with other research laboratories: laboratoire Géosciences Rennes (UMR 6118 CNRS), laboratoire LGO (UMR 6538 CNRS), laboratoire CREAAH (UMR 6566 CNRS), laboratoire AUSONIUS (UMR 5607), laboratoire TRAJECTOIRES (UMR 8215)
  • Contact : Pierre STEPHAN , pierre [dot] stephanatuniv-brest [dot] fr, tel. : +33 (0), mobile : +33 (0)

The ChronoDune thesis aims to reconstruct the chronology of dune activity phases during the
Holocene period along the European coast. What were the constraints imposed by sand-drift events
on both landscape changes and human populations living along the coasts? What was the role of
climate changes in the dynamics of dune environments during the Holocene? Three spatial scales will
be considered in this work. At the scale of the European coast, the thesis will seek to develop a robust
chronological model, based on a probabilistic approach (Bayesian statistics) integrating numerical
chronology data such as radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, but also
historical data available in scientific papers. Along the western coasts of France, the chronology of the
coastal dunes of Brittany will be reconstructed from geomorphological and stratigraphical analyses on
a set of dune fields. A fieldwork will be carried out using sediment cores. Extensive work on sample
preparation and analysis in the laboratory will also be carried out in order to acquire several dozen OSL
dates. On a local scale, the thesis will carry out more targeted work on several archaeological sites
currently being excavated on islands of Béniguet and Hoedic

For more information, see document to download on the rignt of this page