MRDAM: Mississippi River Delta Archeological Mitigation Project

The Mississippi River Delta Archeological Mitigation (MRDAM) project is a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional effort for researching rapid loss of cultural resources caused by climate change events. The project is driven by environmental and anthropological justice initiatives. Research focuses on studying, understanding, and mitigating impacts to cultural resources that are integral to community identity and understanding world history. These climate-driven impacts are also recognized as stressors that affect the resilience of Louisiana’s coastal communities. Tribes, marginalized communities, and other coastal stakeholders are disproportionately affected by climate change. The various adverse coastal changes causing site and community displacements in Louisiana are a microcosm of what is happening in coastal regions and other deltaic environments around the world. Human-induced environmental changes, such as those of climate change and unsustainable land-use practices, have the potential to displace millions of people around the world who already live in harm’s way.
A map showing projected sea level rise of ten feet on Louisiana's coast.
Sea Level Rise on Louisiana's coast, showing a ten-foot projection.

Map created by David Watt in Esri ArcGIS with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ocean Service, Office for Coastal Management. Last Modified: 10/05/2022.

This project will help us understand how past human settlements adapted to the natural processes of erosion and sea level rise. Today, environmental changes are forcing people in Louisiana to move further inland as the coastline shrinks. This is a small-scale version of what is and will continue to happen along coasts and other deltas around the world.

Future generations may not know or be able to appreciate what places and heritage were lost. Many of the at-risk archeological sites have never been studied and much of the information connected with these places will be lost. Places and sites inform us of strength and resilience to these extreme changes over a long period of time. Traditional knowledge forms, such as ecological, horticultural, religious, folklore, customs, and more, are also considered when implementing site mitigation strategies.

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Please send us an email if you have more questions about MRDAM.
MRDAM Contact Email.

Last updated: August 23, 2023