Sea Level Change as a Variable in Colonial American Archaeology

  • Reynold J. Ruppé
Part of the The Springer Series in Underwater Archaeology book series (SSUA)


The genesis of this paper was a series of observations I made at a few Colonial archaeological sites I visited along the eastern coast of the United States. In several cases there was evidence that sea level had risen since the sites were founded. Those sites dated from the early 17th century to the time of the American Revolution and in every case are 30 cm or more below high tide at present. I believe that we will find other early Colonial sites as well as sites of the preceding Exploration period underwater in locally favorable situations. Those favorable locations are estuaries, lagoons, and the tidal portions of rivers. Other sites are reported to occur on the oceanfront but they probably will be difficult to deal with because of alteration of the beaches by storms, sedimentation, and erosion by longshore currents.


Longshore Current Land Level Maritime Archaeology Eustatic Change Colonial Site 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

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  • Reynold J. Ruppé

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