Faculté des sciences

Combining glaciological and archaeological methods for gauging glacial archaeological potential

Rogers, Stephanie R. ; Fischer, Mauro ; Huss, Matthias

In: Journal of Archaeological Science, 2014, vol. 52, p. 410–420

Recent climate changes have led to an increase in the exposure of archaeological remains in frozen environments due to the melting of glaciers and ice patches, and the thawing of permafrost. In some cases, the discovery of glacial archaeological findings has occurred due to chance. In order to avoid the risk of losing exceptional, often organic, cultural remains due to decomposition, systematic... More

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    Summary
    Recent climate changes have led to an increase in the exposure of archaeological remains in frozen environments due to the melting of glaciers and ice patches, and the thawing of permafrost. In some cases, the discovery of glacial archaeological findings has occurred due to chance. In order to avoid the risk of losing exceptional, often organic, cultural remains due to decomposition, systematic and predictive methods should be employed to locate areas of high glacial archaeological potential. Here, we merged archaeological and glaciological methods to create a new type of archaeological prediction model in the field of glacial archaeology. Locational analysis and glaciological modelling were used to highlight current and future areas of archaeological potential in the Pennine Alps, located between Switzerland and Italy. Future glacier area was calculated in 10 year increments until 2100. By 2090, 93% of glacier area is expected to have disappeared. The results from the final model, GlaciArch, provide new insights into future glacial archaeological prospection in the Pennine Alps by narrowing down a study region of 4500 km2 into several manageable square kilometre sites.