Scylla or Charybdis? Prioritizing the Investigation of Sites Endangered by Natural Hazards

Author(s): Jennifer Sparenberg

Year: 2018


Maryland has 8,000 miles of tidal shoreline associated with the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and more than 12-percent of its surface area in floodplains. These high risk areas for flooding and coastal erosion contain about 40-percent of Maryland’s archeological sites and presumably many more that have yet to be discovered. It is not feasible or prudent to excavate every endangered site, thus choices about which sites to investigate must be made strategically. This paper lays out a reasoned approach to the identification and excavation of endangered sites based on: developing and refining historic/prehistoric contexts; identifying gaps in those contexts, and prioritizing which sites to survey and excavate based on context, archaeological sensitivity, and vulnerability. Other natural hazards and the effects of climate change that will impact archeological sites will also be identified, as the approach to prioritization is applicable to all hazards, and as sites are at risk to more than erosion and rising waters. Finally, ideas will be presented on how to work with non-traditional partners, like emergency managers, to communicate the risk natural hazards and climate change pose to archeological sites and why it is important to "mitigate" those risks to sites.

Cite this Record

Scylla or Charybdis? Prioritizing the Investigation of Sites Endangered by Natural Hazards. Jennifer Sparenberg. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444260)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -168.574; min lat: 7.014 ; max long: -54.844; max lat: 74.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20261