Analysis of Marine Sediment to Explain Sea-level Rise in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize

Author(s): Kurt Dilores; Heather McKillop

Year: 2017


Archaeological research in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize provides insight into environmental changes over time. Sea-level rise has affected coastal Maya settlements during both the Classic and Postclassic Periods. Marine sediment samples from five submerged Classic Period Maya sites were exported under permit to the Archaeology lab at Louisiana State University where the samples were analyzed using loss-on ignition and microscopic sorting. The results from loss-on ignition as well as microscopic sorting of these marine sediment samples will be presented. Loss-on ignition was used to determine the percent organic matter in each of the marine sediment samples. Microscopic sorting showed the composition of the marine sediment. A high percent of organic matter in conjunction with red mangrove (R. mangle) roots is indicative of mangrove peat. Mangrove peat is an indicator of actual sea-level rise because R. mangle has been shown to keep pace with the rise of sea level. The research presented in addition to material cultural remains contributes to our understanding of the Maya as well as the effect of global climate change on coastal Maya communities.

Cite this Record

Analysis of Marine Sediment to Explain Sea-level Rise in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize. Kurt Dilores, Heather McKillop. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431476)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15145