Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
For millennia, humans have been inextricably linked to the sea. The coastal zone—less of a boundary than a malleable interface between two distinct biospheres—holds vital clues for understanding not only the roots of our ancient past, but the ways in which we have chosen to protect (or neglect) these material remains. It is well documented that the world’s coastlines are under increasing threat from the fluid realm for which we have had such important historical connections and dependency. The great irony, however—manifested as a burgeoning leviathan comprising sea level rise, catastrophic storms, erosion, development, and many other natural and cultural processes—is that our species’ short-sightedness is now leading to modern events which are erasing evidence of our own existence from the archaeological record. In this paper I use several case studies to highlight how the desire for intensive marine resource use and occupation of littoral zones across deep time to the present-day has greatly influenced both our success and decline as a species.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):
Scott M. Fitzpatrick, Torben Rick, and Jon Erlandson 2015 Recent Progress, Trends, and Developments in Island and Coastal Archaeology. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 10(1):3-27.
Torben C. Rick, Patrick V. Kirch, Jon M. Erlandson, and Scott M. Fitzpatrick 2013 Archaeology, Deep History, and the Human Transformation of Island Ecosystems. Anthropocene 1(4):33-45.
Scott M. Fitzpatrick 2012 On the Shoals of Giants: Natural Catastrophes and the Overall Destruction of the Caribbean’s Archaeological Record. Journal of Coastal Conservation 16:173-186.
Jon M. Erlandson and Scott M. Fitzpatrick 2006 Oceans, Islands, and Coasts: Current Perspectives on the Role of the Sea in Human Prehistory. Journal of Island & Coastal Archaeology 1(1):5-32.