Present in the Past: Environmental Archaeology and Public Policy

Author(s): James Gibb

Year: 2015



Eroding farmland, diminishing forest stocks, sediments choking navigable waterways….these are environmental changes wrought, at least in part, by human decisions and human actions. In the present, these are highly politicized issues, providing thin veils to debates about ideology. Exploring environmental changes in the distant past creates a safe place in which dialogue participants have little or no vested interest and ideology a less prominent role. Public dissemination of archaeological research into historic changes in the lands and waters of Southern Maryland, USA, specifically dealing with erosion and sedimentation, have a direct bearing on the current statewide "rain tax" debate. Research at the Port Tobacco townsite and the Sellman’s Connection plantation contribute to a scientific basis for public policy without direct reference to the politics of imposing a new tax to fund solutions to a centuries-old problem.

Cite this Record

Present in the Past: Environmental Archaeology and Public Policy. James Gibb. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434036)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 407