Three US East Coast Cultural Sites at Risk Due to Rising Sea Levels

November 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Historic Jamestown, Virginia  pic

Historic Jamestown, Virginia
Image: preservationvirginia.org

Cultural resource management authority Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin leverages over 30 years of experience in archeological research and preservation to lead the nationwide practice of R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates as CEO and director of research. Dr. Goodwin, who holds a PhD in anthropology and archaeology, also gives lectures and works on projects involving the protection of cultural and historic sites under threat from rising sea levels. The following list covers three of the most notable sites at risk on the East Coast of the United States.

1. Historic Jamestown, Virginia. Settled in 1606 and located alongside the tidal James River, Jamestown serves as a window into early American life. It features a plethora of archaeological and cultural sites, such as churches, burial grounds, military facilities, and a blacksmith shop. The local glassblowing factory represents one of the earliest staples of what became the North American Industrial Revolution. However, the surrounding waters that once protected Jamestown against Spanish invasion now pose a threat due to enhanced storm surges and rising sea levels.

2. Turtle Mound, Florida. The ancient Timucuan people of central and northeastern Florida constructed the Turtle Mound out of discarded faunal remains, oyster shells, pottery sherds, and other items over the course of 1,000 years. It stands amid a series of smaller mounds and serves as a testament to the way of life of the Timucuan people before written history. Coastal erosion threatens the site’s existence, leading to collaborative efforts by the National Park Service, scientists, and members of the public to create a living shoreline comprised of restored mangroves, oyster shells, and marsh grass.

3. Statue of Liberty, New York. A joint effort between the newly liberated United States and France, the Statue of Liberty was first proposed by Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye in 1865 to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The French handled the statue’s construction and assembly in the United States, while the Americans agreed to build the pedestal for its placement. Rising sea levels and massive storms due to climate change pose a threat and continue to cost millions of dollars in restorative and preventive measures.

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