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Underwater Transect Excavations, Sediment Coring, Remoting Sensing at the Paynes Creek Salt Works

Author(s): Heather McKillop ; Harry Roberts ; Karen McKee ; Terrance Winemiller ; John Jones

Year: 2017

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Following the discovery and mapping of over 100 salt works in a shallow, salt-water lagoon system, a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project was initiated with funding from NSF to examine the ancient landscape, sea-level rise, use of the wooden buildings for salt production and as residences, and reconstruct the underwater sites using 3D GIS. Sediment coring across the lagoon system identified red mangrove peat, an indicator of actual sea-level rise, as well as a plethora of pollen that revealed changes in vegetation patterns. An automated research vessel imaged the seafloor, along with air photos from a drone framing the underwater sites in the modern mangrove ecosystem. Transect excavations through wooden buildings and across open areas indicated the buildings were associated with salt production, with little activity outside buildings. A lagoon lab set up on the edge of underwater sites was used to sort, record, and analyze briquetage and other artifacts. Selected salt-water saturated artifacts were 3D scanned in the evenings at our base station and returned for storage underwater. Exhibits featuring 3D printed replicas of artifacts from the Underwater Maya project were established working with local stakeholders.

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Underwater Transect Excavations, Sediment Coring, Remoting Sensing at the Paynes Creek Salt Works. Heather McKillop, Harry Roberts, Karen McKee, Terrance Winemiller, John Jones. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431473)


Maya Salt Underwater

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14562

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