Anthropology Underwater: Landscape archaeology above and below water in the Great Lakes

Author(s): Ashley Lemke

Year: 2018


Submerged prehistoric landscapes have unique traits which make them invaluable to archaeologists – increased preservation of organic remains, Pompeii-like snap shots in time, and data that either do not exist on land or are deeply buried. These attributes make the few challenges that remain for conducting archaeology underwater more than worth the effort. Early human occupation in the Great Lakes has been difficult to investigate as acidic soils and dynamic water levels left many archaeological remains either poorly preserved or submerged. Ongoing underwater research in Lake Huron is beginning to fill gaps in our knowledge of early hunter-gatherers in this region, and provides unique data of caribou hunting 9,000 years ago using stone built hunting structures. Microregional investigations across this preserved submerged landscape have generated testable hypotheses for the location and nature of contemporary sites on land. Preliminary terrestrial research supports these hypotheses. Rather than separating archaeological research at the water line - connecting terrestrial and underwater records is a holistic approach for reconstructing prehistoric environments and forager adaptations. Anthropological archaeology underwater provides a theoretical framework for such a landscape approach to prehistoric occupations in the Great Lakes and elsewhere.

Cite this Record

Anthropology Underwater: Landscape archaeology above and below water in the Great Lakes. Ashley Lemke. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444957)

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): 21417