How Rising Sea Levels Place the Coast at Risk

March 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

rising sea levels



With over four decades of experience in archaeology and anthropology, R. Christopher Goodwin, PhD, is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates Inc. Working on an array of projects relating to the protection of important cultural sites on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States, Dr. Goodwin raises awareness of the issues caused or exacerbated by rising sea levels, including:

– Storm surges: Rising sea levels intensify storm surges, so coastal communities experience water encroachment and flooding further inland. This can cause damage to historic properties and important infrastructure.

– Erosion: Higher water levels erode the coastline, damaging the environment and tourist economies of these regions. Erosion is a leading cause of loss of coastal archaeological sites.

– Submersion: Low-lying coastal regions are vulnerable to permanent submersion. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a two-foot rise in sea levels could lead to over $1 trillion of damage to coastal areas. many coastal archaeological sites along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are actively being submerged today, especially where subsidence is occurring alongside rising mean low water stand levels.

The Louisiana Archaeologist of the Year Award

February 24, 2017 § Leave a comment

Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin

Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin – Louisiana Archaeologist of the Year

Drawing on more than 40 years of experience in archaeology, R. Christopher Goodwin, PhD, serves as the CEO and director of research for R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc. Dr. Goodwin possesses expertise in examining the role that climate change plays in rising seas levels and the effects it can have on important coastal archaeological and historic sites in the United States.

In 2014, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism  presented R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., with the Archaeologist of the Year award. The award is given in recognition of noteworthy contributions to the archaeological field in Louisiana.

In this case, the organization earned the award for its efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, particularly in its work in the implementation of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program put in place by the Federal Emergency Management Agency during recovery efforts following the storm. The company’s success in shining a spotlight on some of the most valuable cultural  resources in the state also was a major factor in the decision. Dr. Goodwin and his team analyzed and reported on hundreds of thousands of artifacts, evaluated many archaeological sites, prepared planning studies and resurveyed all of the historic districts in New Orleans as part of that major effort. Their technical reports provided tremendous insight into Louisiana’s prehistory and history.

Preserving Portuguese Heritage in Stonington, Connecticut

January 4, 2017 § Leave a comment

Stonington, Connecticut pic

Stonington, Connecticut

A recipient of the National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin, PhD, leads R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., a preservation planning and cultural resource management group. Dr. Goodwin’s team from its Connecticut and Maryland offices has been conducting historical research for the nomination of a society’s building for inclusion in the Connecticut Register of Historic Places.

That building is the office of the Portuguese Holy Ghost Society on Main Street in Stonington, Connecticut, which has been a focal location for Portuguese immigrants in the area. The building was built in 1836 and later purchased by the society in 1929.

The Holy Ghost Society has a long history of assisting Portuguese immigrants in adapting to and becoming part of American society. Society members helped enroll children in school and assisted immigrant families in acquiring American citizenship. Members also helped teach Portuguese-speaking immigrants learn how to speak, read, and write in English.

An $8 million allocation of the Hurricane Sandy relief funds for Connecticut’s coastal communities allocated by Congress under Public Law 113-2 is the source of funding for this historical research and nomination process. The Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office is in charge of handling the nomination of the society.

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

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.