Enduring Records: The Environmental and Cultural Heritage of Wetlands

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Barbara A. Purdy
Oxbow, 2001 - Science - 302 pages
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In rare cases prehistoric peoples and/or their most fragile creations endure when they become accidentally or intentionally entombed in environments that have remained constantly wet, dry, or frozen. These conditions protect them from decay. The finds are particularly informative when skeletons retain flesh, internal organs, and clothes, and when they are accompanied by items of personal adornment or weaponry made of wood, cordage or bone in addition to the more common stone and pottery objects. Preserved stomach contents sometimes reveal the ingredients of an individual's last meal. Well-known examples of this kind of survival include the bog-bodies of northern Europe, the Iceman of the Alps, Egyptian and Peruvian mummies, Swiss lake settlements, and in North America, the Ozette Village on the Olympic Peninsula, and Key Marco on Florida's lower Gulf Coast. These organic materials provide an invaluable window on the past, yet the fact that wetlands contain thousands of years of environmental and cultural history has not risen to the consciousness of the public, the scientific community, or governments. These twenty-seven papers on wetland research across the world, from America to Europe to Australasia, aim to raise the profile of these fragile environments and the potential they have for shedding light on the past.

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Perishable Artifacts offered to the Well of Sacrifice Chichen Itz
The Water Hazard Wet Site in Southwestern British Columbia

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