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Site Stabilization

Site stablization is an important part of archaeological site preservation and protection. Factors that effect the stabilization of sites, such as erosion, foot traffic, and looting, can lead to extensive site damage and in some cases, complete site destruction. Bureau of Archaeological Research has compiled case studies of solutions and outcomes to various stablization problems in Archaeological Stabilization Guide: Case Studies in Protecting Archaeological Sites. 

The sources below provide background information on managing site stablization issues and problems and are listed by stabilization topic. Because there are a wide range of options for archaeological site stabilization, we recommended that various sources be consulted before selecting an approach to your specific problem.


Archaeological Site Stabilization (Bibliography)

Aten, Lawrence E.
1986 "Planning the Preservation of Archaeological Sites" in Rescue Archeology, Papers from the First New World Conference on Rescue Archaeology. Edited by Rex L. Wilson and Gloria Loyola. National Trust for Historic Preservation, Organization of American States, The Preservation Press, Washington, D.C.

Fowler, Don D.
1986 "Conserving American Archaeological Resources" in American Archaeology Past and Future. Edited by David J. Mitzer, Don D. Fowler, and Jeremy A. Sabloff, pp. 135-162. Society for American Archaeology, Washington, D.C.

Thorne, Robert M.
1991 Intentional Site Burial. A Technique to Protect Natural or Mechanical Loss. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.

Shoreline erosion: General Resources

1981 Low Cost Shoreline Protection. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Rogers, Golden & Harpern, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This brochure discusses effective and inexpensive ways to protect shorelines, and, in turn, archaeological sites located along them. It includes useful diagrams and glossary.

Gilbert, S.
1986 "America Washing Away", Science Digest (94)8:29-79.

Hayes, Miles O.
1984 "Beach Erosion". In Coastal Resource Management: Development Case Studies, pp. 67-190, edited by John R. Clark. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and U. S. Agency for International Development. Research Planning Institute, Inc., Columbia,South Carolina.

See Section 4 of this publication for a discussion on methods for preventing beach erosion.

Heede, Burchard H.
1989a "Control of Coastal Erosion to Protect Archeological Resources". In The Archeological Sites Protection and Preservation Notebook, ASPPN III-8, pp. 1-9. Environmental Impact Research Program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.

Hemphill, R.W. and M.E. Bramley
1989 Protection of River and Canal Banks: A Guide to Selection and Design. Construction Industry Research and Information Association, Butterworths, London.

Hemphill and Bramley discuss processes of bank failure, planning and design, natural bank protection, vertical bank protection, and revetments.

Keown, Malcolm P.
1983 Streambank Protection Guidelines. U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.

This publication is written in layman terms and is intended to provide general information to the public on the subject of streambank stabilization. The nature of streams and reasons for streambank erosion and failure are discussed. A variety of standard streambank stabilization techniques are presented for consideration.

Pilkey, O. H. Jr., D. C. Sharma, H. R., Wanless, L. J. Doyle, O. H. Pilkey, Sr., W. J. Neal, and B. L. Gruver
1984 Living with the East Florida Shore. Duke University Press, Durham N.C.

National Research Council (NNR)
1990 Managing Coastal Erosion. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Thorne, Robert M.
1988 Guidelines for the Organization of Archeological Site Stabilization Projects: A Modeled Approach.U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.3.

This publication has a useful table listing the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of shoreline protection.

Walton, T.D., Jr.
1979 "Coastal Erosion- Some Causes and Some Consequences: With Special Emphasis on the State of Florida", Shore and Beach 47:7-12.

Online Resources

International Erosion Control Association

A non-profit, member organization that provides education, resource information and business opportunities for professionals in the erosion and sediment control industry.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Provides general information about shoreline erosion and control in the United States.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District Office

For local access to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Jacksonville District Office covers the area of Florida east of the Appalachicola River.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District Office

The Mobile District Office covers the area of Florida west of the Appalachicola River.

Shoreline Erosion: Employing construction or artificial means

1985 "Erosion Control Mesh Has Environmental Advantages" in Grounds Maintenance, p.50.

Describes the cost and use of Enkamat, a nylon mesh, as an alternative to concrete riprap and asphalt for lining ditches and covering embankments.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
1986 Coastal Construction Manual. FEMA-55/February.

This is a detailed manual on the construction of seawalls, revetments, and other forms of engineered coastal protection.

Godfrey, K.A., Jr.
1984 "Retaining Walls: Competition or Anarchy?" in Civil Engineering Magazine ASCE.

Godfrey summarizes various construction techniques for erecting stabilizing walls. Design companies and suppliers addresses provided.

Shoreline Erosion: Employing natural and minimally invasive solutions

Bates, A. Leon, Sidney S. Harper, Kenneth R. Kelley, David H. Webb
1997 Banks and Buffers: A Guide to Selecting Native Plants for Streambanks and Shorelines. Clean Waters Initiative Program, Environmental Research Center, Tennessee Valley Authority, Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

A guide for selecting native plants for stabilizaton of streambanks and shorelines in Tennessee and other parts of the eastern U.S.

Broome, S. W., E. D. Seneca, and W. W. Woodhouse, Jr.
1982 Building and Stabilizing Coastal Dunes with Vegetation. UNC Sea Grant College Publication UNC-SG-82-05, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

Heede, Burchard, H.
1989b  "Control of Shoreline Erosion by Means of Revegetation". In The Archeological Sites Protection and Preservation Notebook, ASPPN V-2, pp. 1-6. Environmental Impact Research Program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.

1990  "Vegetation Management on Archeological Sites". In The Archeological Sites Protection and Preservation Notebook, ASPPN IX-2, pp. 1-4. Environmental Impact Research Program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.

Kautz, Harold M.

1969 "Streambank Protection" in Engineering Field Manual for Conservation Practices. U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service, Washington, D.C. (Reprinted 1985).

The author discusses streambank erosion and protection methods such as channel clearing and snagging, use of vegetation, setted willow poles, tree revetment, piling revetment with wire facing, sacks, brush mats and rock riprap.

1990 Revegetation: The Soft Approach to Archeological Site Stabilization. Technical Brief No. 8, Archeological Assistance Division, National Park  Service, Washington, D.C.

Thorne, Robert M.
1989 Filter Fabric: A Technique for Short-term Site Stabilization. Technical Brief No. 1. Archaeological Assistance Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.

Discusses filter fabrics and their uses in archaeological site stabilization.

Young, W.C.
1973 "Plants for Shoreline Erosion Control in Southern Areas of the United States". Modified by W.C. Ackerman, G.F. White, E.B. Worthington in Man-Made Lakes: Their Problems and Environmental Effects. Geophysical Monograph Series No. 17, American Geophysical Union.

Discusses various species of plants used for stabilizing eroding shorelines.

Online Resources

Literature on Florida Plants

A bibliography compiled by the University of Florida Herbarium of selected publications, which may be helpful to the study and use of the native, naturalized, and cultivated vegetation of Florida.

University of Florida Aquatic, Wetland and Invasive Plant Information Retrieval System

A computerized bibliographic database (Copyright University of Florida, 2000) devoted to freshwater aquatic and wetland plants as well as terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants. The database includes citations for more than 51,000 research articles, books, and reports about aquatic plant ecology, physiology, utilization and control.

Bioengineering Group, Inc.

A firm "with expertise in the use of vegetation for construction projects designed to optimize environmental benefits". It provides a full range of consulting services in the field of bioengineering for erosion control, water quality, and habitat restoration. Techniques employed are most successful in revegetating areas where flowing water or soil instability causes accelerated erosion. This firm is located in Salem, Massachusetts, but works nationwide.

Holmburg Technologies, Inc.

Patented beach restoration technology that reverses erosion without the addition of artificial fill, and without causing adverse side effects to adjacent shorelines. This firm is located in Sarasota, Florida.

Pedestrian or Foot Traffic Damage

MacDonald, Anne
1990 Surface Erosion and Disturbance at Archeological Sites: Implications
        for Site Preservation.

This publication discusses surface erosion and other disturbances to archaeological sites.

Solutions to Looting Problems

Ehrenhard, J. E. (editor)
1990 Coping with Site Looting, Southeastern Perspectives: Essays in Archeological Resource Protection. National Park Service, Interagency Archeological Services Division, Atlanta, Georgia.

Nickens, Paul R.
1993 Use of Signs as a Protective Measure for Cultural Resource Sites. Technical Report EL-93-6, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.

This publication discusses the use of signs in protecting archaeological sites.

Ryan, Jan S.
1991 Preventing Cultural Resources Destruction: Taking Action Through Interpretation. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.

This source discusses various approaches to deterring vandalism and looting, such as the use of signs and site monitors.