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Sea-Level Rise and Subsidence Effects on Gulf Coast Archaeological Site Distributions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

R. Barry Lewis
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, 109 Davenport Hall, 607 S. Mathews St., MC-148, Urbana, IL 61801

Abstract

This article examines the archaeological effects of two major geologic factors, eustatic sea-level rise and land subsidence, on the archaeological site distributions of low-energy coastlines. It describes an inexpensive, quick approach to identify these effects, which exploits the interpretive value of state-maintained archaeological site location files. The application of this approach to the Mississippi Gulf Coast suggests that coastal sites older than roughly 3500 B.P. were submerged or destroyed by eustatic sea-level rise; more recent sites were affected little by this process. Among subsidence factors, endogenic or deep-earth subsidence has had little impact on local site distributions. Exogenic or surficial subsidence processes, however, are sufficient to explain the temporal gradient of tidally inundated marsh sites.

Resumen

Resumen

Este artículo examina los efectos arqueológicos de dos factores geológicos mayores—la subida eustática del nivel del mar y el hundimiento de la tierra—en la distribución de los sitios arqueologicos en un litoral de baja energía. El artículo describe una manera barata y rápida de identificar estos efectos. El método explota el valor interpretativo de las fichas de ubicación de sitio que mantienen las oficinas estatales. La aplicación de este método a la casta del Golfo de misisipí sugiere que los sitios costeños mayores a aproximadamente 3500 A. C. de antiguedad fueron sumergidos o destruídos por la subida eustática del nivel del mar mientras que los sitios más recientes no fueron muy afectados por este proceso. Entre los factores de hundimiento, el hundimiento de tierra profunda o de endogénesis tiene poco impacto en las distribuciones de los sitios locales. No obstante, los procesos de hundimiento exógenos o de la superficie sí son suficientes como para explicar la gradiente temporal de los sitios de pantano que son inundados por las mareas.

Type
Reports
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for American Archaeology 2000

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