July 15, 2018 12:49 AM   Subscribe

The wet and cold Arctic climate allows extraordinary preservation of archaeological remains. But new research is showing that we've lost much of the evidence in less than generation due to climate change.

The full paper is open access in Antiquity.
posted by Helga-woo (4 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This is also the case for maritime archaeology - unfortunately I can't find anything specifically about the Arctic, but this article focussing on UK coastal waters gives some of the issues. The erosion mentioned in the Globe and Mail article also affects maritime sites - it both buries remains, and reduces visibility for underwater archaeologists.

If you look at this footage of HMS Terror, you can see the level of preservation (up to a rope still in place at the capstan) is amazing. The Terror is a good case in point: climate change gave both the ability (area more free of sea ice) and the motivation (gives Canada a good early 'dibs' on the increasingly commercially viable NW passage) to find her - but it also threatens her preservation.
posted by Vortisaur at 1:24 AM on July 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:58 AM on July 15, 2018

Yeah, there are a bunch of sites around the California coast that are threatened by coastal erosion.

What makes me the angriest about this article is that there are people taking private yachts up north and looting archaeological sites. It’s one thing to consider loss in the face of mass-scale climate change, but it’s another when it’s happening because people don’t think the rules should apply to them.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:40 PM on July 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

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