Harnessing Remote Sensing Derived Sea Level Rise Models to Assess Cultural Heritage Vulnerability: A Case Study from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean

Academic Article


  • Climate change threatens cultural heritage across the globe. Of its varied impacts, sea level rise is critically pressing because of the long relationship between humans and the ocean. Numerous cultural heritage sites lie on the world’s fragile coasts. Identifying cultural heritage sites at risk is an urgent need, but archaeological research programs do not always have the resources available to conduct large-scale cultural heritage vulnerability assessments. Given sea level rise poses myriad pressing issues, entities around the globe are developing sea level rise models for various management purposes (ecology, hydrology, real estate, etc.). These remote sensing-derived sea level rise models can be harnessed by archaeologists to assess cultural heritage site vulnerability. Here, such an analysis is realized for a northwest Atlantic Ocean coastal area experiencing relative sea level rise and with robust cultural heritage, including economically significant maritime heritage tourism. Combining archaeological and historic geospatial databases with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)-derived relative sea level rise models illuminates coastal New Hampshire’s cultural heritage vulnerability. This is informative for risk monitoring, mitigation, and preservation planning, especially for cultural heritage tourism. The analysis also raises the need for discussions around what kind and whose heritage gets priority in planning for future sea level rise impacts.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • November 2020
  • Published In

  • Sustainability  Journal
  • Keywords

  • GIS
  • archaeology
  • cultural heritage
  • remote sensing
  • risk
  • sea level rise
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 9429
  • End Page

  • 9429
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 22