Maritime Archaeology and Climate Change: An Invitation


Maritime archaeology has a tremendous capacity to engage with climate change science. The field is uniquely positioned to support climate change research and the understanding of past human adaptations to climate change. Maritime archaeological data can inform on environmental shifts and submerged sites can serve as an important avenue for public outreach by mobilizing public interest and action towards understanding the impacts of climate change. Despite these opportunities, maritime archaeologists have not fully developed a role within climate change science and policy. Moreover, submerged site vulnerabilities stemming from climate change impacts are not yet well understood. This article discusses potential climate change threats to maritime archaeological resources, the challenges confronting cultural resource managers, and the contributions maritime archaeology can offer to climate change science. Maritime archaeology’s ability to both support and benefit from climate change science argues its relevant and valuable place in the global climate change dialogue, but also reveals the necessity for our heightened engagement.

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Correspondence to Jeneva Wright.

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This research was conducted by an employee of the U.S. National Park Service, Department of Interior; the author received no specific compensation for this article.

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Wright, J. Maritime Archaeology and Climate Change: An Invitation. J Mari Arch 11, 255–270 (2016).

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  • Maritime archaeology
  • Climate change
  • Marine environment
  • Management
  • Conservation
  • Public outreach