The Suitability of Ground-Penetrating Radar for Mapping Sub-Marsh Paleogeography and Implications for Large-Scale Archaeological Surveys of Wetlands and Marshes
Author(s): Peter Leach
Prehistoric sites beneath modern marshes are uncommon and valuable cultural resources with superior organic preservation potential. Such sites generally offer greater stratigraphic integrity than their terrestrial counterparts as they were not historically plowed. However, these sites are overlooked and understudied in eastern North America due to low visibility, disagreement on surveying strategies, and misperceptions regarding the high costs of investigation and low potential for site preservation. A recent large-scale coring survey (>3000 augers) in Delaware, USA, identified four prehistoric sites beneath 50cm to 2m of tidal freshwater marsh sediments. Coring revealed well-preserved paleosols with debitage and formal tools within upper soil horizons, and demonstrated that these sites were preserved due to indirect armoring from locally-outcropping, discontinuous conglomerates or lithified sediments of the Columbia Formation. While successful and informative the field strategy comprised a brute-force, 8m grid of cores across the expansive project area. This paper describes attempts to refine wetland survey methods on two of the previously discovered sites through ground-penetrating radar mapping of sub-marsh paleogeography. Given the completeness of the existing coring data, as well as low-salinity sediments more suitable for GPR, this project area presents an ideal case study for refining archaeological prospection methods in wetland/marsh settings.
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The Suitability of Ground-Penetrating Radar for Mapping Sub-Marsh Paleogeography and Implications for Large-Scale Archaeological Surveys of Wetlands and Marshes. Peter Leach. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397156)
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min long: -84.067; min lat: 36.031 ; max long: -72.026; max lat: 43.325 ;