An Experimental Study on the Effects of Periodic Inundation on Surface Artifact Assemblages

Author(s): Jonathan Van Hoose; Lance Lundquist

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: A National Perspective on CRM, Research, and Consultation" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Thousands of archaeological sites are subject to periodic inundation and wave action due to the operation of more than 600 dams owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) nationwide. We used experimental archaeology to study the effects inundation was having on surface artifact assemblages. Specifically, in 2008 archaeologists with the Corps Albuquerque District undertook an experimental study on these effects in association with a temporary alteration of the timing and release of flows at Cochiti Lake on the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Corps archaeologists placed 432 aluminum disks of varying sizes, simulating ceramic sherds and large and small chipped-stone flakes, in known locations within the elevation range for expected lake level fluctuations. Over a five-year period, these artifacts were periodically relocated and their positions recorded, allowing a precise record of the movement of individual artifacts across the landscape as lake levels rose and fell. We correlated this movement data with daily lake level and weather records and found differences in artifact movement based on artifact size, duration, and depth of inundation, with particularly strong impacts occurring with inundation at shallow depths. This paper presents our methods, findings, and management recommendations.

Cite this Record

An Experimental Study on the Effects of Periodic Inundation on Surface Artifact Assemblages. Jonathan Van Hoose, Lance Lundquist. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452274)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23728