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Archaic Period sites on the continental shelf of North America: The effect of relative sea-level changes on archaeological site locations and preservation

By
Melanie J. Stright
Melanie J. Stright
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Published:
January 01, 1995

This paper addresses the question, “Where on the continental shelf of North America will archaeological sites dating from the Archaic Period (8,000 to 3,000 B.P.) occur and be preserved?” The comparative analysis of published relative sea-level curves for North America indicates there is a general trend from north to south of paleoshorelines becoming deeper due to the overwhelming influence of isostatic uplift in northern North America. The relative sea-level curves are grouped into three isostatic zones after Bloom (1977), that define broad geographic areas within which the relative sea-level data reflect similar trends. Isostatic uplift in most areas of the northernmost zone, Isostatic Zone A, has been so great as to almost preclude prehistoric archaeological site potential on the continental shelf. However, relative sea-level data for the more southern Isostatic Zones B and C indicate that Archaic Period archaeological sites may exist as deep as 22 m below present mean sea level.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Archaeological Geology of the Archaic Period in North America

E. Arthur Bettis, III
E. Arthur Bettis, III
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Geological Society of America
Volume
297
ISBN print:
9780813722979
Publication date:
January 01, 1995

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