Coastal Dynamics and Site Formation: A look at the Archaeological Deposits of Coastal RI after Hurricane Sandy

Author(s): Joseph N. Waller, Jr.; Dawn Beamer

Year: 2015


The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the southern New England coast has brought attention to the delicate nature of our coastal landscapes. Just as we are beginning to utilize new insights into climate change for urban (re)development, we must also consider coastal archaeological sites at risk in areas of high erosion. The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL) surveyed 28.2 km of Rhode Island's coastline to evaluate the effects of Hurricane Sandy on coastal archaeological sites. Using GIS, PAL created a predictive model comparing archaeological site sensitivity with areas of significant storm erosion to identify areas with the highest potential for containing intact archaeological deposits impacted by the hurricane. Field reconnaissance identified a WWI era fortification and thirty-two pre-contact Native American archaeological sites, seven of which were previously documented. The data obtained during the survey contribute to our understanding of Native American resource use and settlement in the coastal zone and coastal alteration as well as site formation processes resulting from coastal dynamics and sea level rise. This poster will present on the Hurricane Sandy archaeological project, consider how natural processes have shaped the coastline and impacted cultural deposits over time, and discuss the implications for the future of these sites.

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Cite this Record

Coastal Dynamics and Site Formation: A look at the Archaeological Deposits of Coastal RI after Hurricane Sandy. Dawn Beamer, Joseph N. Waller, Jr.. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396487)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;