Relict oyster shells are thought to be unreliable references for reconstructing sea-level history owing to interrelationships between their age and present depth of occurrence off North Carolina. Radiocarbon dates were obtained from 44 relict oyster shells of Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin) collected within a relatively narrow area of the continental shelf from north of Cape Hatteras to Cape Fear (less than 40,000 km2) in depths to 60 m. Data indicate significant postdepositional and landward transport of these shells, calling into question some previous interpretations of sea-level history that were based partly on the dating of relict oyster shells and other unreliable relict shoreline deposits.

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