Application of Postglacial Sea-level History to Reconstruction and Assessment of Newfoundland’s Coastal Archaeological Heritage

Lay Summary 

Coastal environments on Newfoundland hold an important archaeological record, ranging from Maritime Archaic hunter-gatherers to modern fishing communities. However, this record is incomplete since Newfoundland has been subject to complex patterns of sea-level change over the last 10,000 years resulting in coastal submergence and emergence at different periods. In addition, the extant archaeological heritage is under threat of destruction from rising sea-levels and increased storminess.

This project has two main goals:
1) To identify coastal areas of high archaeological potential.
2) To conduct a vulnerability assessment of coastal archaeological heritage.

The first goal will be accomplished using models of past sea-level change combined with seabed data derived from mapping and geological investigations. This will allow pinpointing of past coastal and inter-tidal environments with a high archaeological potential. These locations occur both on the present landscape and on the shallow seabed offshore that was once dryland. Specific locations can then be targeted for subsequent survey and testing.

The second goal will be accomplished by extending models of sea-level change into the future. These can then be combined with existing information on coastal geology and vulnerability (e.g. rates of coastal erosion) to identify regions where archaeological heritage is most at risk over the next 50 to 100 years.

Physics and Physical Oceanography
Memorial University Faculty Of Arts Postdoctoral Fellowships Program
St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
Aboriginal Peoples
Industry Sectors 
Heritage Institutions
Scientific Research and Development Services
Start date 
1 Jan 2007
End date 
31 Dec 2008