Friday, June 29, 2007

Add Coastal Erosion to Fire and Storms

Coastal erosion: another environmental attack on archaeological sites. Like fire and storms, it reveals--then destroys. (Good segue from yesterday's blog, right?)

A mound on Scotland's coast built up over 2,000 years to cover Iron Age pottery, metal works, and housing remains. That Sandwick, Unst coastline features many treasures, including a Viking settlement. At this particular site, archaeologists found a skeleton with copper alloy ornaments and a polished stone disk in its mouth.

Now that's unusual. The BBC story ran in October 2005. Another story about Scotland's eroding coastline and the 12,000 archaeological sites at risk is here.

An update appears in the Shetland Times of June 29, 2007. The community is rebuilding the site at Sandwick, Unst (not Uist; that was yesterday's entry), knowing that the waves will wear it down over the next few years. They figure they'll not only increase awareness of the site, but learn a lot as well.

Here is a website about the Sandwick, Unst site, showing the last two year's work. There's even a kids' page!

We get spoiled by the incredible sites at Giza, Athens, Rome, and Stonehenge; I suspect we sometimes think that monuments must last forever to be worthwhile. And, by extension, that we must build to last forever.

Even here in California, there is a tendency to think that way--that our buildings must endure, that all must remain as it is. Truthfully, though, there were many, many cultures that lived either on the move or in shelters that were not meant to house generations of people. I'm sure those cultures supported rich, meaningful lives. The only downside to that way of thinking is that we don't know about them, because they left no stone buildings.

And that's our problem, not theirs--right?


*BALURDI* said...


Anonymous said...

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- Murk