Identifying Submerged Paleocultural Landscapes: A Collaborative Archaeological Approach

Author(s): Doug Harris; David Robinson; John King

Year: 2015


Narragansett Indian Tribal oral history relates to us that "More than 15,000 years ago, the ancient villages of the Narragansett were out where the ocean is now. The waters began to rise overnight and the people had to abandon their homes." This Tribal oral history echoes the regional geological record indicating that at the time of the last glacial maximum, ca. 24,000 years ago, what are now the Atlantic waters of Rhode Island and Block Island sounds were part of a subaerially-exposed continental shelf that was an open vegetated plain available for ancient human habitation. Since 2012, a research team from the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography and the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office has been working collaboratively in the Atlantic Ocean off Rhode Island's coast on a 4-year BOEM-funded study designed to assist with the development of protocols for identifying submerged paleocultural landscapes and the ancient Native American archaeological sites they may contain. This paper will present our initial methodological approach and preliminary results from these ongoing investigations, as well as provide some insights about what has been learned along the way regarding the integration of marine geoarchaeological research with Tribal knowledge, perspectives and concerns.

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Cite this Record

Identifying Submerged Paleocultural Landscapes: A Collaborative Archaeological Approach. David Robinson, Doug Harris, John King. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397160)


Spatial Coverage

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