A centennial perspective on archeological research trends and contemporary needs for a vanishing Mississippi Delta

Matthew R. Helmer*, Elizabeth L. Chamberlain, Jayur M. Mehta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Archeological investigations of the Mississippi Delta (U.S.) are reaching the century mark and provide information relevant to Holocene settlement patterns and present-day issues of human adaptation to coastal change. This review synthesizes the history of archeological research over the last ~100 years in the Mississippi Delta, an area that is deteriorating at a historically unprecedented rate. Early 20th century investigations provided sketches of pre-contact Indigenous culture, and extensive yet destructive Great Depression-era federal projects created the foundations of Mississippi Delta archeology. We highlight the abundant and underutilized data generated by regulatory cultural resource surveys over the past 50 years and, most recently, salvage efforts for a vanishing coast. From this centennial perspective, we advise on future research directions and demonstrate how coupling archeology with emergent theory on human-natural systems, including ecosystem services, benefits land-management practices here and in other landscapes undergoing rapid 21st century environmental change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-365
JournalHolocene
Volume33
Issue number3
Early online date8 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • coastal resilience
  • Cultural Resource Management
  • ecosystem services
  • environmental archeology
  • human-landscape dynamics
  • traditional ecological knowledge

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