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Forecasting Climate Change Impacts and Resource Values to Set Preservation and Research Priorities

Author(s): Michael Heilen ; Jeffrey Altschul ; Friedrich Lueth

Year: 2017

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Globally, climate change represents one of the largest impending threats to archaeological research and heritage preservation. Rising sea levels and increased storm intensity will cause inundation and erosion of coastal and island resources across the globe. Climate change impacts will increase in their frequency and severity in the coming decades, resulting in compromised integrity or outright destruction of thousands of heritage resources, many of which may never be identified before they are gone. Efforts are needed now to understand the extent of the problem; to identify, record, and save what can be rescued; and to study important resources that will be lost. To set research and preservation priorities, the vulnerability of resources to specific climate change impacts and their relative importance to scientific research, preservation, and other resource values needs to be understood. To this end, we advocate a modeling approach that predicts the location, timing, and severity of climate change impacts; identifies resources at risk, their resource values, and opportunity costs; and prioritizes research and preservation options based on these assessments. We highlight our work with two case studies, one from the Atlantic coast of the United States and one from the Baltic Sea region.

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Forecasting Climate Change Impacts and Resource Values to Set Preservation and Research Priorities. Michael Heilen, Jeffrey Altschul, Friedrich Lueth. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431038)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16002

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