Rising Seas Threaten California’s Coastal Past

Higher tides and increased erosion will wipe out archaeological sites along the Northern California coast according to Mike Newland, an archaeologist at Sonoma State University.

Pieces of California’s history are in danger of disappearing as the Pacific Ocean claws at the base of coastal cliffs and sea level rise is accelerating the problem.

Newland says there is evidence that people have lived in California for at least 11,000 years, and the soft sandstone cliffs on the coast have always been susceptible to erosion. Traditionally, Tipon said, the tribe would have let the ocean take burial sites, since it was a natural process. But now, with two million or so people visiting the park every year, they can’t leave human remains exposed.

Just looks like a rock, right? Archeologist Mike Newland says, "This is a crypto-crystalline silicate cobble that was broken by native peoples, probably to get material for making stone tools. It comes from a high-risk site along the western edge of Point Reyes National Seashore."

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