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The Geoarchaeology of Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes

William A. Lovis
Alan F. Arbogast
G. William Monaghan
James A. Robertson Series Editor
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 252
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  • Book Info
    The Geoarchaeology of Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes
    Book Description:

    Complex sets of environmental factors have interacted over the past 5,000 years to affect how changes in climate, temperature, relative precipitation, and the levels of Lake Michigan influence the preservation of archaeological sites in coastal sand dunes along Lake Michigan. As a collaboration between earth scientists, archaeologists, and geoarchaeologists, this study draws on a wealth of research and multidisciplinary insights to explore the conditions necessary to safeguard ancient human settlements in these landscapes. A variety of contemporary and innovative techniques, including numerous dating methods and approaches, were employed to determine when and for how long sand dunes were active and when and for how long archaeological sites were occupied. Knowledge of dune processes and settlement patterns not only affects archaeological interpretations, but it is also consummately important to land planners responsible for managing heritage archaeological sites in the Lake Michigan coastal zone.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-348-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology, Geology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: The Geoarchaeology of Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes
    (pp. 1-14)

    Coastal sand dunes are common along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan (figure 1-1) and likely represent the largest body of freshwater dunes in the world (Peterson and Dersch 1981). They are certainly among the most prominent natural features of the modern Michigan coastal landscape, and contain a unique flora and fauna. Compared to other landscapes the dunes are highly dynamic, changing their shape and configuration over both the short and the long run. Moreover, coastal dunes are attractive to contemporary populations, who use them regularly for a variety of recreational activities. Government agencies from the municipal to the federal...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The Archaeology of the Lake Michigan Coastal Zone: A Perspective from the Coastal Dunes
    (pp. 15-36)

    The research presented in this book is specifically directed at delineating the conditions under which archaeological sites are formed, buried, and stratified within dunes of the coastal zone of Lake Michigan. Understanding such taphonomic processes, and their variability or consistency in time and space, underpins our ability to assess whether coastal dune archaeological site populations are representative of past site populations. Are we missing some sites because they are deeply buried within dunes, or because they have been selectively destroyed by dune erosion or building episodes? Whether or not we ultimately find that the remnants of past archaeological site populations...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Coastal Dunes, Eolian Processes, and Activation-Stabilization Cycles
    (pp. 37-58)

    This chapter presents an overview of research on the environmental variables associated with the evolution of Michigan’s coastal dunes. The first section centers on eolian processes, specifically the way that wind moves and deposits sediment. The second portion of the chapter explores the early research on coastal dunes along Lake Michigan, including how vegetation affects the evolution of foredunes and the development of large dunes in various topographic positions (figure 3-1). The third section describes modern research on the geomorphology and evolution of Lake Michigan coastal dunes

    Within the context of this research it is important to understand how flowing...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Middle and Late Holocene Lake-Level Variation, Isostatic Rebound, and Environmental Changes in the Upper Great Lakes
    (pp. 59-82)

    The overarching goal of this book is to formulate a temporal and spatial framework delineating the natural and cultural processes that control the locations and burial of archaeological sites within coastal dunes settings. The purpose of this chapter is to outline some of the major factors that influence the development and distribution of both dunes and archaeological sites through space and time (figures 4-1 and 4-2). Broadly, these factors include:

    The basic geomorphology of the Lake Michigan coastline, which relates mainly to the deglaciation history of the basin

    Regional climate change,particularly during the late Holocene

    Lake-level variations related to environmental...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Archaeological Sites in Dune Contexts around Lake Michigan
    (pp. 83-110)

    This sample locale description and summary compendium contains many of the fundamental primary observations on the six major archaeological locales newly located, newly sampled, reassessed through field investigation, and/or dated and redated with new samples from 2006 to 2008 as part of the ISTEA buried site taphonomy/dune activation and cycling project. As we have done elsewhere, the sequential presentation is organized geographically around the Michigan locations in the Lake Michigan basin. The first site summarized,the Winter site,is the most western site the project visited along the northern coastline of Lake Michigan. Site descriptions then proceed eastward to the Straits of...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Discussion and Synthesis of the Processes and Timing of Dune Formation and Archaeological Site Burial in Coastal Settings of Lake Michigan
    (pp. 111-136)

    Results from this study provide a comprehensive record of eolian sand mobilization and dune formation, particularly in the northeastern part of the Lake Michigan basin. In contrast to previous studies of dunes along the southeastern shoreline (e.g., Arbogast and Loope 1999; Arbogast et al. 2002; Hansen et al. 2003), which largely reconstructed dune histories through radiocarbon dating of charcoal in buried soils, this study systematically used OSL dating to establish chronological control to define intervals of eolian sediment deposition. Conversely, periods of dune stabilization were defined by the presence of paleosols using both ¹⁴ Cages of organic material within them...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN The U.S. 31 Case Study: Torch Bay to South Point
    (pp. 137-148)

    An oft-asked question at the conclusion of a major study such as the one presented here is, “So what practical value does all of this technical scientific research have?” Recall that at the outset of our work we posed a series of three questions regarding (1) the age of Lake Michigan coastal sand dunes, (2) their cycles of activation and stabilization over a long span of time, and (3) the relationship between their age and cycling to lake-level fluctuation, postglacial uplift, and the potential for the preservation or burial of intact archaeological sites. To varying degree, and for different subregions...

  13. APPENDIX A. Description of Methods Employed
    (pp. 149-156)
  14. APPENDIX B. Tables of Radiocarbon and OSL Dates
    (pp. 157-160)
  15. APPENDIX C. Descriptions of Sample Locales
    (pp. 161-206)
  16. References
    (pp. 207-220)
  17. Index
    (pp. 221-235)