Summary of On Santa Cruz Island, rising seas present archaeological emergency
Santa Cruz Island is home to one North America’s oldest villages. The significant cultural material is at risk of being destroyed by rising seas and strong storms.
A joint effort by the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Oregon, Chumash tribal leaders, and the Nature Conservancy has produced an important archaeological evaluation of Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the Channel Islands, located off the shore of California.
In the past few weeks, archaeologists have begun taking a full account of the endangered sites on the shore. This will create a baseline for experts to monitor the destruction of the archaeological resources.
Due to the urgency of the situation, the team of conservationists are recording and salvaging as many artifacts and remains as possible. A code system has been created and currently eight sites hold a “code red” distinction, meaning they house irreplaceable cultural material in impending danger.
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