Date:

Researchers target sea level rise to save years of archaeological evidence

Prehistoric shell mounds found on some of Florida’s most pristine beaches are at risk of washing away as the sea level rises, wiping away thousands of years of archaeological evidence.

“The largest risk for these ancient treasure troves of information is sea level rise,” said Shawn Smith, a senior research associate with the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University.

- Advertisement -

But a joint project between Smith and the National Park Service is drawing attention to the problem to hopefully minimize the impact on the state’s cultural sites.

Smith and Margo Schwadron, an archaeologist with the National Park Service, have embarked on a project to examine past and future changes in climate and how we can adapt to those changes to save areas of shoreline and thus preserve cultural and archeological evidence.

“We’re kind of the pioneers in looking at the cultural focus of this issue,” Smith said, noting that most weather and ocean experts are concerned about city infrastructure for coastal areas.

To complete the project, the National Park Service awarded Smith a $30,000 grant. With that money, Smith and former Florida State University undergraduate Marcus Johnson spent hours compiling modern, colonial and paleo weather data.

- Advertisement -

The focus of their initial research is the Canaveral National Seashore and Everglades National Park, which both have prehistoric shell mounds, about 50 feet to 70 feet high. Researchers believe these shell mounds served as foundations for structures and settlements and later served as navigational landmarks during European exploration of the region.

Modern temperature and storm system information was easily available to researchers. But, to go hundreds and then thousands of years back took a slightly different approach.

Log books from old Spanish forts as well as ships that crossed the Atlantic had to be examined to find the missing information.

The result was a comprehensive data set for the region, so detailed that modern era weather conditions are now available by the hour.

Smith and Schwadron are trying to secure more funding to continue their work, but for now, they are making their data set available to the general public and other researchers in hopes of raising awareness about the unexpected effects of sea level rise.

The National Park Service has also published a brochure on climate change and the impact that sea level rise could have on the shell mounds found at Cape Canaveral.

Contributing Source : Florida State University

- Advertisement -
spot_img
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
spot_img

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

9,000-year-old Neolithic stone mask unveiled

A rare stone mask from the Neolithic period has been unveiled for the first time by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Archaeologists recover two medieval grave slabs from submerged shipwreck

Underwater archaeologists from Bournemouth University have recovered two medieval grave slabs from a shipwreck off the coast of Dorset, England.

Study confirms palace of King Ghezo was site of voodoo blood rituals

A study, published in the journal Proteomics, presents new evidence to suggest that voodoo blood rituals were performed at the palace of King Ghezo.

Archaeologists search for home of infamous Tower of London prisoner

A team of archaeologists are searching for the home of Sir Arthur Haselrig, a leader of the Parliamentary opposition to Charles I, and whose attempted arrest sparked the English Civil War.

Tartessian plaque depicting warrior scenes found near Guareña

Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology of Mérida (IAM) and the CSIC have uncovered a slate plaque depicting warrior scenes at the Casas del Turuñuelo archaeological site.

Archaeologists find a necropolis of stillborn babies

Excavations by the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) have unearthed a necropolis for stillborn and young children in the historic centre of Auxerre, France.

Researchers find historic wreck of the USS “Hit ‘em HARDER”

The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) has confirmed the discovery of the USS Harder (SS 257), an historic US submarine from WWII.

Archaeologists uncover Roman traces of Vibo Valentia

Archaeologists from the Superintendent of Archaeology Fine Arts and Landscape have made several major discoveries during excavations of Roman Vibo Valentia at the Urban Archaeological Park.