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Sea Level Fluctuations of the Southern Salish Sea: An assessment of the archaeological potential for sites dating from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene

Author(s): Alexander Berry

Year: 2017

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Summary

Following the last glacial maximum, coastlines around the world drastically changed. This occurred through a complex combination of geomorphological processes, which were compounded by global sea-level rise. While these fluctuations took place, humans adapted to an aquatic subsistent lifestyle along coastal regions. This study focuses on the southern Salish Sea (located in North America’s Pacific Northwest) and human-environmental interactions during the terminal Pleistocene. Through the use of a predictive model (reevaluated for international application), a holistic methodological framework developed in the Baltic Sea was utilized to address questions regarding archaeological potential in the southern Salish Sea. A dataset was compiled incorporating environmental, ethnological, and archaeological information—for an analysis of the region and its inhabitants. This data enables the production of paleo-landscape reconstructions at 14,000 B.P., 11,000 B.P., and 6,000 B.P., which illustrate the prehistoric coastal configurations influx caused by sea-level fluctuation. Concluding from this research, the sea-level history of the southern Salish Sea is defined in accordance to the amount of dynamic change that has occurred over the past 14,000 years. With pre-contact sites ranging from inland to completely inundated, the data provided in this study yields information regarding the varying degrees of Paleoindian and Archaic archaeological visibility.


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Sea Level Fluctuations of the Southern Salish Sea: An assessment of the archaeological potential for sites dating from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene. Alexander Berry. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429795)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15176

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America