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The Geoarchaeology of Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes

William A. Lovis, Alan F. Arbogast, and G. William Monaghan

Publication Year: 2012

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.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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List of Figures

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pp. vii-x

List of Tables

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pp. xi-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xv

As is normally the case with a multiyear project of some magnitude, a large number of individuals and institutions contributed in various degrees and fashion to its successful completion. The Dune Activation, Cycling, and Site Taphonomy Project was made possible by funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the Safe, ...

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1. Introduction: The Geoarchaeology of Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes

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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 ...

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2. The Archaeology of the Lake Michigan Coastal Zone: A Perspective from the Coastal Dunes

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pp. 15-35

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 ...

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3. Coastal Dunes, Eolian Processes, and Activation-Stabilization Cycles

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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 ...

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4. Middle and Late Holocene Lake-Level Variation, Isostatic Rebound, and Environmental Changes in the Upper Great Lakes

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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 ...

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5. Archaeological Sites in Dune Contexts around Lake Michigan

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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 ...

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6. Discussion and Synthesis of the Processes and Timing of Dune Formation and Archaeological Site Burial in Coastal Settings of Lake Michigan

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pp. 111-135

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 ...

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7. The U.S. 31 Case Study: Torch Bay to South Point

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pp. 137-147

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 ...

Appendix A. Description of Methods Employed

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pp. 149-155

Appendix B. Tables of Radiocarbon and OSL Dates

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pp. 157-159

Appendix C. Descriptions of Sample Locales

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pp. 161-205

References

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pp. 207-220

Index

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pp. 221-235


E-ISBN-13: 9781609173487
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860511

Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Environmental Research series

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- Michigan -- Antiquities.
  • Indians of North America -- Michigan, Lake -- Antiquities.
  • Archaeological geology -- Michigan, Lake.
  • Coastal archaeology -- Michigan, Lake.
  • Sand dunes -- Michigan, Lake.
  • Michigan, Lake -- Antiquities.
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