A Land Transformed: Holocene Sea-Level Rise, Landscape Evolution, and Human Occupation in the San Francisco Bay Area
The effects of landscape evolution on the archaeological record of the San Francisco Bay Area have been profound, primarily due to rising sea levels. These changes are illustrated through a trans-Holocene "tour" of the bay that incorporates the landscape context of many sites featured in subsequent papers. For the regions first inhabitants this area was a vast inland valley, rather than the state’s largest estuary. The Holocene transgression is illustrated utilizing a new sea-level curve developed for region, which is based on an analysis of over three hundred radiocarbon dates from marsh deposits in the bay and delta. This curve is used to reconstruct the extent of the bay at various times in the past, illustrating just how much of the landscape once available for prehistoric human populations is now submerged. The terrestrial response to rising sea levels during the latter portion of the Holocene included infilling of formerly incised stream channels, alluvial deposition on surrounding floodplains, and the formation of extensive wetlands and dune fields, as illustrated by recent geoarchaeological studies from the region. These examples show how large-scale landscape changes structured the region’s archaeological record, and likely explain why the early portions of California’s past are poorly represented.
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This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
- Ancestral Native American Archaeology of the San Francisco Bay Area •
- Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)
Cite this Record
A Land Transformed: Holocene Sea-Level Rise, Landscape Evolution, and Human Occupation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Philip Kaijankoski, Jack Meyer. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396111)
min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;