Local and Indigenous management of climate change risks to archaeological sites

  • Bethune Carmichael
  • Greg Wilson
  • Ivan Namarnyilk
  • Sean Nadji
  • Sally Brockwell
  • Bob Webb
  • Fred Hunter
  • Deanne Bird
Original Article

Abstract

Hundreds of thousands of significant archaeological and cultural heritage sites (cultural sites) along the coasts of every continent are threatened by sea level rise, and many will be destroyed. This wealth of artefacts and monuments testifies to human history, cosmology and identity. While cultural sites are especially important to local and Indigenous communities, a stall in coordinated global action means adaptation at a local scale is often unsupported. In response, this paper produces a practical climate change risk analysis methodology designed for independent, community-scale management of cultural sites. It builds on existing methods that prioritise sites most at risk from climate impacts, proposing a field survey that integrates an assessment of the relative cultural value of sites with assessment of exposure and sensitivity to climate impacts. The field survey also stands as a monitoring program and complements an assessment of organisational adaptive capacity. The preliminary field survey was tested by Indigenous land managers in remote northern Australia at midden and rock art sites threatened by sea level rise, extreme flood events and a range of non-climactic hazards. A participatory action research methodology—incorporating planning workshops, semi-structured interviews and participant observations—gave rise to significant modifications to the preliminary field survey as well as management prioritisation of 120 sites. The field survey is anticipated to have global application, particularly among marginalised and remote Indigenous communities. Well-planned and informed participation, with community control, monitoring and well-informed actions, will contribute significantly to coordinated global and regional adaptation strategies.

Keywords

Archaeology Climate change Adaptation Community planning Cultural heritage Indigenous Local planning Risk assessment Site prioritisation Vulnerability assessment 

References

  1. Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976.Google Scholar
  2. Adger N, Barnett J, Brown K et al (2013) Cultural dimensions of climate change impacts and adaptation. Nat Clim Chang 3(2):112–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agnew N et al (2015) Rock art a cultural treasure at risk. The Getty Conservation Institute, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  4. ALeRT (2016) Archéologie, littoral et réchauffement terrestre—ALeRT [online]. Archéologie, Littoral et Réchauffement Terrestre. Available via https://translate.google.com.au/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=https://alert-archeo.org/&prev=search. Cited 21 Nov 2016
  5. Altman J (2009) The hybrid economy and anthropological engagements with policy discourse: a brief reflection. Aust J Anthropol 20:318–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Altman J, Jordan K (2008) Impact of climate change on indigenous Australians: submission to the Garnaut climate change review. Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research. The Australian National University, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  7. Australia ICOMOS (2013) Understanding and assessing cultural significance [online]. ICOMOS, Australia. Available via http://australia.icomos.org/wp-content/uploads/Practice-Note_Understanding-and-assessing-cultural-significance.pdf. Cited 2 Nov 2015
  8. Australian Government (2013) Caring for our country. Achievements Report: 2008–2013. Independent summary to Caring for our country [online]. Canberra. Available via http://www.nrm.gov.au/home. Cited 9 June 2016
  9. Bickler S, Clough R, Macready S (2013) The impact of climate change on the archaeology of New Zealand’s coastline: a case study from the Whangarei District. Australian Policy Online, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  10. Bird D et al (2013) Future change in ancient worlds: indigenous adaptation in northern Australia. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold CoastGoogle Scholar
  11. Bowdler S (1981) Unconsidered trifles? Cultural resource management, environmental impact statements and archaeological research in New South Wales. Aust Archaeol 12:123–133Google Scholar
  12. Brandl E (1988) Australian aboriginal paintings in western and central Arnhem land: temporal sequences and elements of style in Cadell River and Deaf Adder Creek art. AIATSIS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  13. Briuer F, Mathers C (1996) Trends and patterns in cultural resource significance: an historical perspective and annotated bibliography. Center for Cultural Site Preservation Technology, MississippiGoogle Scholar
  14. Brockwell S, Meehan B, Ngurrabangurraba B (2005) An-barra Archaeological Project: a progress report. Aust Aborig Stud 2005(1):84–89Google Scholar
  15. Brown S (2008) Mute or mutable? Archaeological significance, research and cultural heritage management in Australia. Aust Archaeol 67:19–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Byrne D, Brayshaw H, Ireland T (2003) Social significance: a discussion paper. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, HurstvilleGoogle Scholar
  17. Carmichael B (2015) Supporting indigenous rangers’ management of climate-change impacts on heritage sites: developing an effective planning tool and assessing its value. The Rangeland Journal 37:597–607Google Scholar
  18. Carmichael B et al. (2017) Testing the scoping phase of a bottom-up planning tool designed to support Australian Indigenous rangers manage the impacts of climate change on heritage sites. In press.Google Scholar
  19. Cassar M and Pender R (2005) The impact of climate change on cultural heritage: evidence and response. 14th Triennial Meeting, The Hague, 12–16 September 2005: preprints (ICOM Committee for Conservation). Earthscan Ltd., London, pp610–616.Google Scholar
  20. Cassar M et al (2006) Predicting and managing the effects of climate change on world heritage. A joint report from the World Heritage Centre, its advisory bodies, and a broad group of experts to the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee. ICOMOS, VilniusGoogle Scholar
  21. Chaloupka G (1993) Journey in time: the 50,000-year story of the Australian aboriginal rock art of Arnhem land. Reed, Kew, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  22. CITiZAN (2016) Rapid coastal zone assessments (RCZAs) [online]. Museum of London Archaeology, London. Available via: http://www.citizan.org.uk/contact-us/ Cited 1 Nov 2016
  23. Clarkson C, Smith M, Marwick B, Fullagar R, Wallis LA, Faulkner P, Manne T, Hayes E, Roberts RG, Jacobs Z, Carah X, Lowe KM, Matthews J, Florin SA (2015) The archaeology, chronology and stratigraphy of Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II): a site in northern Australia with early occupation. J Hum Evol 83:46–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Daire M-Y et al (2012) Coastal changes and cultural heritage (1): assessment of the vulnerability of the coastal heritage in Western France. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 7(2):168–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Daly C (2014) A framework for assessing the vulnerability of archaeological sites to climate change: theory, development, and application. Conservation and Management of Archaeological sites 16(3):268–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. David B, Barker B, Petchey F, Delannoy J-J, Geneste J-M, Rowe C, Eccleston M, Lamb L, Whear R (2013) A 28,000 year old excavated painted rock from Nawarla Gabarnmang, northern Australia. J Archaeol Sci 40:2493–2501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dawson T (2013) Erosion and coastal archaeology: evaluating the threat and prioritising action. In: Daire M.-Y et al. (eds) Ancient maritime communities and the relationship between people and environment along the European Atlantic coasts. BAR International Series, Vannes, France, 2570:77–83Google Scholar
  28. Dawson T (2015) Taking the middle path to the coast: how community collaboration can help save threatened sites. In: Harvey D, Perry J (eds) The future of heritage as climates change: loss, adaptation and creativity. Routledge, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  29. Dazé A, Ambrose K, Ehrhart C (2009) CARE climate vulnerability and capacity analysis handbook. CARE International, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  30. Dupont L, Van Eetvelde V (2013) Assessing the potential impacts of climate change on traditional landscapes and their heritage values on the local level: case studies in the Dender basin in Flanders, Belgium. Land Use Policy 35:179–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. English Heritage (2007) A brief for English Heritage rapid coastal zone assessment surveys. Version 10. English Heritage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  32. Erlandson J (2012) As the world warms: rising seas, coastal archaeology, and the erosion of maritime history. J Coast Conserv 16:137–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. FitzGerald et al (2008) Coastal impacts due to sea-level rise. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 36:601–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ford J, Smit B (2003) A framework for assessing the vulnerability of communities in the Canadian arctic to risks associated with climate change. Arctic 57(4):389–400Google Scholar
  35. Ford J, Smit B, Wandel J (2006) Vulnerability to climate change in the Arctic: a case study from Arctic Bay, Canada. Glob Environ Chang 16(2):145–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Giesen M., et al. (2013) Condition assessment and preservation of open-air rock art panels during environmental change. Journal of Cultural Heritage [online]. Available via http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1296207413000666. Cited 29 Nov 2013].
  37. Green D, Morrison J, Jackson S (2009) Risks from climate change to indigenous communities in the tropical north of Australia. Department Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  38. Gunn R (2011) The impact of bushfires and fuel reduction burning on the preservation of shelter rock art. Rock Art Research: The Journal of the Australian Rock Art Research Association 28(1):53–69Google Scholar
  39. Hinkel J et al (2013) UNEP—PROVIA guidance on assessing vulnerability, impacts and adaptation to climate change: consultation document. United Nations Environment Programme, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  40. Hiscock P et al (1992) Settlement patterns in the Kakadu wetlands: initial data on size and shape. Aust Aborig Stud 2:84–89Google Scholar
  41. Hofmeijer I et al (2013) Community vulnerability to the health effects of climate change among indigenous populations in the Peruvian Amazon: a case study from Panaillo and Nuevo Progreso. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 18:957–978CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Huq S, Reid H (2004) Mainstreaming adaptation in development. IDS Bull 35(3):15–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. ICCROM (2008) Cultural heritage and the law: protecting immovable heritage in English-speaking countries of sub-Saharan Africa. International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, RomeGoogle Scholar
  44. IPCC (2001) Climate change 2001: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Contribution of working group ii to the third assessment report. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  45. IPCC (2007) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Working group ii contribution to the fourth assessment report. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  46. IPCC (2013) Climate change 2013: working group 1 contribution to the IPCC 5th assessment report “climate change 2013: the physical science basis”. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  47. IPCC (2014) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Contribution of working group ii to the fifth assessment report. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  48. Johnson A, Marrack L, Dolan S (2015) Threats to coastal archaeological sites and the effects of future climate change: impacts of the 2011 tsunami and an assessment of future sea-level rise at Hōnaunau, Hawai’i. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 10(2):232–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Jones B et al (2008) Modern erosion rates and loss of coastal features and sites, Beaufort Sea coastline, Alaska. Arctic 61(4):361–372Google Scholar
  50. Jones R (1985) Archaeological research in Kakadu National Park. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  51. Jones R, Preston B (2011) Adaptation and risk management. WIREs Climate Change 2:296–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kakadu Board of Management (2014) Kakadu National Park draft management plan 2014. Director of National Parks, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  53. Kamminga J, Allen H (1973) Report of the archaeological survey. Alligator Rivers Environmental Fact-Finding Study, DarwinGoogle Scholar
  54. Kerins S (2012) Caring on country to working on country. In Altman J and Kerins S (eds). People on country. Vital landscapes, Indigenous futures. Federation Press, AnnandaleGoogle Scholar
  55. Leonard S et al. (2013) Indigenous climate change adaptation in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia. Learning from the past, adapting in the future: identifying pathways to successful adaptation in indigenous communities. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility Gold CoastGoogle Scholar
  56. Lewin K (1946) Action research and minority problems. J Soc Issues 2(4):34–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Little B, Mathers C, Darvill T (2005) Heritage of value, archaeology of renown: reshaping archaeological assessment and significance. University Press of Florida, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  58. Mazel A et al (2014) Condition assessment risk evaluation (CARE) rock art toolkit. Newcastle University, NewcastleGoogle Scholar
  59. McIntyre-Tamwoy S, Buhrich A (2012) Lost in the wash: predicting the impact of losing aboriginal coastal sites in Australia. The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses 3(4):53–66Google Scholar
  60. Meehan B (1982) Shell bed to shell midden. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  61. Moise A et al (2015) Monsoonal north cluster report. In: Ekström M et al (eds) Climate change in Australia projections for Australia’s natural resource management regions: cluster reports. CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  62. Murphy P, Thackray D, Wilson E (2009) Coastal heritage and climate change in England: assessing threats and priorities. Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 11(1):9–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Murray T (2011) Archaeologists and indigenous people: a maturing relationship? Annu Rev Anthropol 40:363–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. NAILSMA (2014) I-tracker [online]. Northern Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance. Available via http://nailsma.grasslands.net/hub/programs/i-tracker. Cited 8 June 2016
  65. National Tidal Centre (2011) The Australian baseline sea level monitoring project annual sea level data summary report July 2010–June 2011. NTC BOM, AdelaideGoogle Scholar
  66. Nursey-Bray M et al (2013) Community based adaptation to climate change: the Arabana, South Australia. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold CoastGoogle Scholar
  67. Owen T and Veale S (2015) No intrinsic value in archaeology? Constructing agency and social value from archaeology. ICOMOS Conference 2015. GML Heritage, AdelaideGoogle Scholar
  68. Preston B, Stafford-Smith M (2009) Framing vulnerability and adaptive capacity assessment: discussion paper. CSIRO Climate Adaptation National Research Flagship, AspendaleGoogle Scholar
  69. Preston B, Westaway R, Yuen E (2011) Climate adaptation planning in practice: an evaluation of adaptation plans from three developed nations. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 16:407–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Raiser W (2014) Adaptation to climate change: inciting yet another top-down/bottom-up debate [online]. Climate Exchange. Available via http://climate-exchange.org/2014/02/24/390/. Cited 2 Nov 2015
  71. Reeder-Myers L (2015) Cultural heritage at risk in the twenty-first century: a vulnerability assessment of coastal archaeological sites in the United States. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 10(3):436–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Reid H et al (2009) Community-based adaptation to climate change. In: IIED (ed) Participatory learning and action60: community-based adaptation to climate change. International Institute for Environment and Development, NottinghamGoogle Scholar
  73. Rick, Fitzpatrick S (2012) Archaeology and coastal conservation. J Coast Conserv 16:35–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Roberts RG, Jones R, Smith MA (1990) Thermo-luminescence dating of a 50,000 year-old human occupation site in northern Australia. Nature 345:153–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Rowland M (1992) Climate change, sea-level rise and the archaeological record. Australian Archaelogy 34:29–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Rowland M, Ulm S (2012) Key issues in the conservation of the Australian coastal archaeological record: natural and human impacts. J Coastal Conservation 16:159–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Rowland M, Ulm S, Roe M (2014) Approaches to monitoring and managing indigenous Australian coastal cultural heritage places. Queensland archaeological. Research 17:37–48Google Scholar
  78. Russell-Smith J and Edwards A (2008) The potential impacts of climate change on fire and vegetation. In Winderlich S (ed) Kakadu National Park landscape symposia series 2007–2009. Symposium 4: climate change, 6–7 August 2008. Dept Env, Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Kakadu National ParkGoogle Scholar
  79. Sabbioni C., et al. (2006) Global climate change impact on built heritage and cultural landscapes [online]. Taylor and Francis. Available via http://noahsark.isac.cnr.it/publications/Publication_3.pdf. Cited 5 Dec 2013
  80. Sheppard A, Low T and Glaznig A (2008) Interactions between invasive species and climate change in a Kakadu context and national priorities for their management. In Winderlich S (ed) Kakadu National Park landscape symposia series 2007–2009. Symposium 4: climate change, 6–7 August 2008. Dept Env, Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Kakadu National ParkGoogle Scholar
  81. Shorewatch (2016) Shorewatch: recording the eroding archaeology of Scotland’s coasts [online]. Available via http://www.shorewatch.co.uk/. Cited 5 July 2016
  82. Smit B, Pilifosova O (2003) From adaptation to adaptive capacity and vulnerability reduction. In: Smith J, Klein R, Huq S (eds) Climate change, adaptive capacity and development. Imperial College Press, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Smit B, Wandel J (2006) Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Glob Environ Chang 16(3):282–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Stringer E (2014) Action research, 4th edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  85. Sutton M, Huntley J, Anderson B (2013) ‘All our sites are of high significance.’ Reflections from recent work in the Hunter Valley—archaeological and indigenous perspectives. Journal of the Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists 1:1–15Google Scholar
  86. Tacon P, Brockwell S (1995) Arnhem land prehistory in landscape, stone and paint. Antiquity 69:676–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Tacon P and Marshall M (2015) Conservation or crisis? The future of rock art management in Australia. In Zhang Y (ed) Theories and practices on rock art preservation and conservation. In press, Beijing.Google Scholar
  88. UKCIP 2013 UKCIP adaptation wizard [online]. UK Climate Impacts Program. Available via http://www.ukcip.org.uk/wizard/getting-started/. Cited 11June 2014
  89. UNESCO (2006) Predicting and managing the effects of climate change on world heritage. UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ParisGoogle Scholar
  90. Webb R, Beh J (2013) Leading adaptation practices and support strategies for Australia: an international and Australian review of products and tools. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold CoastGoogle Scholar
  91. Wesley D, Jones T, Reepmeyer C (2014) Pigment geochemistry as chronological marker: the case of lead pigment in rock art in the Urrmarning ‘Red Lily Lagoon’ rock art precinct, western Arnhem land. Australian Archaelogy 78:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Westley K et al (2011) Impact assessment of current and future sea-level change on coastal archaeological resources—illustrated examples from northern Newfoundland. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 6(3):351–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Willows R, Connell R (2003) Climate adaptation: risk, uncertainty and decision-making. UK Climate Impacts Programme, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  94. Winn K et al (2006) Saltwater intrusion and morphological change at the mouth of the East Alligator River, Northern Territory. J Coast Res 22:138–149Google Scholar
  95. Xu J (2007) Community participation in ethnic minority cultural heritage management in China: a case study of Xianrendong ethnic cultural and ecological village. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 18:148–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bethune Carmichael
    • 1
    • 2
  • Greg Wilson
    • 3
  • Ivan Namarnyilk
    • 3
  • Sean Nadji
    • 4
  • Sally Brockwell
    • 1
  • Bob Webb
    • 1
  • Fred Hunter
    • 4
  • Deanne Bird
    • 5
  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Charles Darwin UniversityAlice SpringsAustralia
  3. 3.Djelk Indigenous Protected AreaManingridaAustralia
  4. 4.Kakadu National ParkJabiruAustralia
  5. 5.University of IcelandReykjavíkIceland

Personalised recommendations