Under Our Feet, Under Water: A Case Study from Boca Raton, Florida
South Inlet Park is a beach-adjacent recreational area in Palm Beach County, Florida. The county has maintained the park, which is situated near the Boca Raton Inlet, since the 1990s. It was known for years that the site included both historic material and large shell middens. A pedestrian survey in the 1970s, and a limited excavation in the 1990s confirmed the presence of these middens; however, both centered exclusively on above ground features. In 2018, Lynn University conducted Phase I and II surveys on the property and identified a previously unknown subsurface midden layer. This new midden feature is particularly at risk for climate related impacts, as it lies within 25 meters of the water as well as within an area of under 10 meters elevation. This site was excavated as the first site under the Regional Climate Action Plan, which is a component of the Southeast Regional Climate Compact, and includes prevention, mitigation, and monitoring of climate change impacts to natural and cultural resources. Work done by the Palm Beach County Archaeologist has indicated that the adjacent sites will experience 3% to 26% site loss given 1 foot to 6 feet of sea level rise. Thus, immediate action is needed to monitor this still extant site. Recommendations include the continued emphasis on multidisciplinary/multi-organizational efforts, as this ensures the best chance at recording and preserving these sites for the future.
Tidally United Summit
College of Arts and Sciences
Watson, A., Lecher, A. L., & Hilpert, M. (2019, August 15-17). Under our feet, under water: A case study from Boca Raton, Florida [Paper presentation]. Tidally United Summit, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Pensacola, FL, United States.