History Submerged: A Legacy of Modernity

01st December 2006

Bradley L. Garrett

Masters of Maritime Archaeology, James Cook University, February 2006

This thesis explores the role of intentionally-induced inundation in historical contexts and the creation of underwater archaeologies. The topic is discussed by analysing varied archaeological signatures before and after inundation events and subsequent reflexive human reactions in relation to the submergence of these places. The study is limited to the context of human-induced inundation due to modern waterway ‘development’. In particular, this study examines the effects of dam construction on the archaeological record in the western United States. One goal of the thesis is to make explicit the concept that many of these places hold deep value to living people and mean more than simply lost ‘data’ from the perspective of an archaeologist or cultural resource manager. The thesis also seeks to articulate the concept that underwater archaeological and cultural landscapes should not be ignored simply because they are submerged. Dam deconstruction and site re-emersion are also discussed. Finally, the thesis briefly discusses the role of United States federal legislation in the management of submerged cultural sites.

The approach included a rigorous background literature review, as well as analysis of discussions with archaeologists and people who lost access to cultural areas due to submergence. This provided insight into what sort of behaviours and responses inundation events in the past may have provoked, and how these reactions may have affected the material record. These are issues integral to the establishment of appropriate management regimes for submerged locals, which in many cases has never been proposed.

Bradley L. Garrett
History Submerged: A Legacy of Modernity
December 2006
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Thesis Abstracts
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