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Uncovering Submerged Landscapes

Towards a GIS method for locating submerged archaeology in southeast Alaska

Kelly Rose Bale Monteleone
Publication Year:
132 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 11 tables, 49 figures (27 in colour)
BAR number:


Early peoples migrating to the Americas via the coastal migration route would have travelled through southeast Alaska during periods with lower sea levels. The residues of where they lived, hunted and gathered are on the now submerged continental shelf of southeast Alaska. A GIS model, two years of marine geophysical survey (including side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiling and multibeam sonar) and minimal subsurface testing have allowed the author to refine the methods for locating submerged archaeological sites buried on the continental shelf. The environment is reconstructed in 500-year intervals, and these intervals are used to create a predictive model for each time period using inductive and deductive methods. The final model combines the interval models for a final prediction of probable archaeological sites within the region.

Kelly Monteleone completed her PhD in Anthropology at the University of New Mexico in 2013. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. She researches submerged landscapes related to the peopling of the Americas, using computer modelling.

‘This volume will be useful to those looking for guidance about how to utilize GIS for submerged landscape studies’ Jessi Halligan, American Antiquity, Volume 85 (3), 2020

‘…a comprehensive study of GIS methods and their applicability for locating submerged landscape archaeology in south-east Alaska…The book contributes to broader discussions and research surrounding optimal methods to locate such sites and provides a detailed case-study to an international community of researchers with a focus on coastal human migrations and underwater archaeology…I thoroughly recommend this book to submerged landscape specialists as well as those interested in the application of land-use models to locate archaeological sites.’ Chelsea Wiseman, The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, Volume 48.2, 2019

‘…this work presents a thorough and critical analysis of a predictive model that has the potential to provide a cost-effective means to lo¬cate and investigate submerged landscapes on the northwest continental shelf of America...This book is well worth a read from both a methodological standpoint as well as providing an interesting eth¬nographic and archaeological overview. It is well presented, with high quality figures throughout. Finally, it is a timely contribution to research ad¬dressing questions of early migrations to the Americas, with great potential for future work to add a tangible submerged component to the record.’ Rachel Bynoe, Archäologische Informationen, Volume 42, 2019

‘The research methods are state of the art both in relation to predictive modelling and to underwater exploration. … The book makes a significant contribution to the archaeology of SE Alaska and, more widely, to issues of international interest to do with early human colonisation and underwater exploration of the continental shelf.’ Peer Reviewer

‘This research provides new possibilities for locating unknown archaeological sites and details a methodology which could advance our archaeological understanding.’ Dr Simon Fitch, University of Bradford

Table of Contents (S2917_9781407316567_ToC.pdf, 153 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (S2917_9781407316567-Introduction.pdf, 1,569 Kb) [Download]