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Rising Sea Levels Will Threaten Archaeological and Historic Sites on US East Coast

Source: Phys.org/Steve Hinnefeld/Indiana University - December 7, 2017 in Adventure

Rising Sea Levels Will Threaten Archaeological and Historic Sites on US East Coast
Photo: Jamie Street/Unsplash

Rising sea levels resulting from climate change will threaten vast numbers of archaeological and historic sites near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the southeastern United States, according to a study co-authored by Indiana University researchers.

The study finds that a rise of 1 meter in sea levels, widely expected by the end of this century using accepted climate models, would submerge over 13,000 recorded archaeological sites, including more than 1,000 listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Every archaeological  is like a unique experiment that provides information about the particular people who lived in a particular area,” said co-author Joshua Wells, associate professor of anthropology and social informatics at IU South Bend. “Every time one of those is lost, that’s another set of knowledge that is washed away.”

In addition to Wells, co-authors include 2017 Ph.D. graduate Kelsey Noack Myers and doctoral student R. Carl DeMuth of IU Bloomington. Other authors are at the University of Tennessee, Northern Kentucky University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the California-based Alexandria Archive Institute.

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