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HomeArchaeologyVirginia’s Inland Waters Heritage Threat Evaluation and Survey

Virginia’s Inland Waters Heritage Threat Evaluation and Survey


by Elizabeth A. Moore (Virginia Division of Historic Assets)

Location: A number of Rivers in Virginia

Downside: Virginia has 64 rivers, river branches, main creeks, and runs totaling 2,452 linear miles and is house to three,285 sq. miles of submerged lands that symbolize 7.7% of the state. Inland waterways are being impacted by elevated storm frequency and depth that leads to elevated erosion, flooding, and harm to pure and cultural sources. In 2018, Hurricanes Michael and Florence took an inland path in Virginia, impacting 52 counties and cities. It grew to become clear that DHR doesn’t have adequate survey information for archaeological sources in and adjoining to our waterways to evaluate threats and mitigate additional storm harm. Survey of historic sources in and alongside a few of Virginia’s rivers was carried out within the Nineties and early 2000s, and was printed in a collection of River Atlases by the Virginia Canals & Navigation Society (VC&NS). Revisions have been made to a few of the volumes since then, however no systematic survey has been accomplished to look at beforehand undocumented areas or to replace the situation of recognized websites.

Challenge Description: This evaluation and survey effort will study roughly 157 miles of sections on the Smith, Rappahannock, Dan, Banister, Appomattox, Rivanna, James, and New Rivers. This work has been divided right into a collection of survey efforts to be carried out by certified consultants. These surveys will establish, doc, and reassess storm impacts to cultural sources alongside riparian zones in parts of the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Mountain and Valley areas. Previous to fieldwork, survey groups will study present website information, paying explicit consideration to the knowledge within the VC&NS River Atlases and accompanying photographic documentation of website situations. LiDAR information evaluation of a 200 meter swath on both facet of waterway banklines will establish landforms per cultural supplies. These options will likely be cross referenced in opposition to historic documentation, maps, and informant interviews. Contact will likely be made with key stakeholders together with federally and state acknowledged Tribes, native authorities workers, residents, and native recreation and conservation teams. Fieldwork will encompass workers visible examination of riparian zones through small craft. This work is supported with a grant from the Nationwide Park Service’s Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund managed by the State, Tribal, and Native Plans and Grants Division.

Impacts: Long run impacts to websites in and on Virginia’s waterways embody destruction and lack of ruins and standing historic buildings (mills, dams, bridges, and so on.); erosion and potential lack of websites on riverbanks and floodplains; harm to and lack of quite a few submerged websites corresponding to fish weirs and channels; and website burial from siltation.

Motion: Buying and analyzing survey and evaluation information is barely the start of mitigating potential harm from elevated storm exercise. That evaluation should be used to prioritize documentation and information restoration efforts earlier than websites are misplaced. Three of the survey initiatives have been contracted, and tribal session and fieldwork has been accomplished. Outcomes from the primary of those initiatives on the Banister River in Pittsylvania County have been submitted to DHR. In a 20 mile stretch of the river, 23 archaeological websites had been documented, 22 of them beforehand unrecorded. These websites embody wing dams, dams, historic erosion management partitions, bridge abutments, a mill, and a attainable sluice. 9 fish weirs had been documented, solely one in all which was beforehand recorded.

This venture surveys solely a fraction of Virginia’s inland waterways; fashions should be developed to prioritize further survey areas. Methods to mitigate information loss together with erosion management or useful resource documentation and information assortment should be developed and carried out. Partaking the general public has confirmed to be essential to profitable fieldwork. Native residents not solely know the best and most secure methods to entry the rivers, however are sometimes educated about historic sources within the water and on the riverbanks. Recreation and conservation teams worth pure and cultural sources and these teams will be necessary companions in additional website documentation and preservation.

44PY0529, fish weir, trying north. Picture by Dwayne Pickett, Harm & Proffitt.

44PY0529, fish weir, plan view. Water level at USGS gauge 02077000 4.22 feet.

44PY0529, fish weir, plan view. Water degree at USGS gauge 02077000 4.22 toes.

Erosion gully along the right bank next to site 44PY0529 looking south. Photo by Dwayne Pickett, Hurt & Proffitt.

Erosion gully alongside the appropriate financial institution subsequent to website 44PY0529 trying south. Picture by Dwayne Pickett, Harm & Proffitt.

Site 44PY0537, possible dam remnants, looking northwest. Photo by Dwayne Pickett, Hurt & Proffitt.

Website 44PY0537, attainable dam remnants, trying northwest. Picture by Dwayne Pickett, Harm & Proffitt.

Site 44PY0539, bridge abutment, looking south along the right bank. Photo by Dwayne Pickett, Hurt & Proffitt.

Website 44PY0539, bridge abutment, trying south alongside the appropriate financial institution. Picture by Dwayne Pickett, Harm & Proffitt.

Site 44P0539 showing erosion along left bank looking northeast. Photo by Dwayne Pickett, Hurt & Proffitt.

Website 44P0539 displaying erosion alongside left financial institution trying northeast. Picture by Dwayne Pickett, Harm & Proffitt.

All graphics are from Archaeological Survey of the Banister River, Pittsylvania County, Virginia. 2021, submitted to the Virginia Division of Historic Assets by Dwayne Pickett, PrincipaI Investigator, Harm & Proffitt, Inc.

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