Heritage Tools for Tackling Climate Change

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

Heritage managers everywhere increasingly observe climate-change related impacts to the resources of which they are stewards. Such observations provide notice that we must begin to manage cultural resources in new ways - to adapt to continuous change that we do not yet fully understand.

Climate change brings with it a diverse set of threats, huge and hydra-like in their complexity and ferocity. We may not fully understand the changes that the world is about to undergo,but the severity and immediacy of the many problems posed by those changes compels us to act. The disciplines associated with the management of cultural heritage have much to offer climate change response and adaptation planning. Heritage sites serve both as a source of information past humans’ adaptation to changing climate, and as tangible links between contemporary people, their cultural identities, communities, and important places.

This session presents an array of tools for managing cultural resources in the face of climate change so they may be shared and valued well into the future. The tools include identification of the diversity of potential impacts of climate change on resources, modeling of threats in GIS, crowdsourcing monitoring, and planning approaches to manage and address risk.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-5 of 5)

  • Documents (5)

  • Climate Change, Archaeology, and Native Expertise: an Ice Patch Success Story (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Pei-Lin Yu. Robert Kelly. Craig Lee. Ira Matt. John Murray.

    Managing the impacts of climate change to cultural resources, and conducting relevant research, cross-cuts disciplinary boundaries and calls for an innovative, outward looking mindset. Descendant communities, particularly Native groups with long ties to lands and resources and high stakes in climate change outcomes, are rich in traditional ecological knowledge and cultural expertise. These bodies of knowledge are key building blocks for successful strategies for risk evaluation, vulnerability...

  • Future Proofing Communities and Preserving Cultural Resources (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sandra Pentney.

    Climate change is already having observable effects on cultural resources within both the natural and built environments. As communities and governments strive to protect their assets from climate change impacts there is opportunity for advanced preservation practices. On the flip side of this, a lack of preservation planning within the construct of future proofing assets may have irreversible and detrimental effects to cultural resources of all types. This paper delves into opportunities for...

  • International Efforts to Engage with Climate Based Threats to Cultural Heritage (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only George Hambrecht. Ennis Barbery. Elizabeth van Dolah. Kevin Gibbons.

    As climate change threats to cultural heritage become more apparent a range of responses is emerging across the globe. This session will discuss examples of different approaches to this problem in areas outside of the United States. While white papers and policy statements will be discussed the main focus will be on 'on the ground' programs that are monitoring, and/or implementing mitigation and adaptation actions to protect cultural heritage around the world. Examples, from Europe, South...

  • The NPS Cultural Resources Climate Change Impacts Table (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marcy Rockman. Marissa Morgan.

    The US National Park Service (NPS) is actively preparing for climate change and its current and potential effects across all of the cultural resources for which it has responsibility for management and guidance. These include archeological resources, cultural landscape, ethnographic resources, museum objects, and structures and buildings. However, the agency currently lacks data detailing how cultural resources will be affected by changing climates. To address this gap in knowledge, the NPS...

  • Using Site Condition Data to Manage Heritage Sites for Climate Change Impacts (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only David Gadsby. Lindsey Cochran.

    Heritage sites worldwide are threatened by human action and inaction; archaeologists are observers of the era of human-induced global change. We are specially positioned to use our data to examine such change through the material record. Additionally, archaeologists have been recording observations about the condition of sites for many years, even if those observations are not always intended to monitor site condition or integrity. Archaeologists in the National Park Service have, in maintaining...