Understanding human response to natural disasters is a core problem for environmental archaeologists. Hurricanes are often devastating to coastal populations, and recognizing behavioral change in response to these major storm events provides context for the resilience and adaptability of ancient coastal people. This research project focuses on retrodicting periods of increased storm frequency and intensity for regions of the Florida coast and comparing those storm periods to the existing archaeological record in order to determine if there are correlations between increased storminess and periods of site abandonment and/or changes in subsistence strategy. These potential correlations may aid in our understanding of human cultural response to dramatic environmental change. Particle size analysis was performed on sediment cores collected from 5 coastal Florida lakes in order to determine periods of increased storm occurrence dating back as far as 9000 B.P. After comparing these storm chronologies to dated materials from the existing archaeological record of the regions surrounding each of the coastal lakes, preliminary analysis shows the potential for correlation between periods of increased storminess and site abandonment. At the regional level and in several intra-site comparisons, there are some noticeable staggering effects between the periods of storminess and the radiocarbon dates of archaeological materials. Further investigation is needed to more fully understand the relationship between these two datasets, which may further our understanding of cultural resilience to environmental stressors and the catalyzing forces of site abandonment and subsistence change in coastal Florida.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Parbus, Brett, "Weathering the Storm: Effects of Storm Periods on Ancient Populations of Coastal Florida" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6617.