I am a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. During my tenure at the University of Illinois, I developed several ethnohistory and archaeology research projects on the Coast, partly for the sense of personal satisfaction of contributing what I could to my home region, and partly in the futile hope that I could interest one or more graduate students to conduct dissertation research there.
This study of the relationships between archaeological site distribution patterns and landform subsidence trends was published in the June 2000 issue of American Antiquity. Here’s the abstract:
This article examines the archaeological effects of two major geologic factors, eustatic sea level rise and land subsidence, on the archaeological site distributions of low-energy coastlines. It describes an inexpensive, quick approach to identify these effects, which exploits the interpretive value of state-maintained archaeological site location files. The application of this approach to the Mississippi Gulf Coast suggests that coastal sites older than roughly 3,500 B.P. were submerged or destroyed by eustatic sea level rise; more recent sites were affected little by this process. Among subsidence factors, endogenic or deep earth subsidence has had little impact on local site distributions. Exogenic or surficial subsidence processes, however, are sufficient to explain the temporal gradient of tidally inundated marsh sites.
Mississippi Coast Archaeology and Ethnohistory in the WPA Historical Records Survey
Another project examined the anthropological research potential of the vast WPA records that were amassed across the United States in the 1930s. I abandoned the project after I decided to move my research to India. Here’s the abstract from a 1994 conference paper:
The Historical Records Survey, one of many national make-work projects administered by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, contributed significantly to the preservation of local history at the county level. Although largely unknown to anthropologists, the HRS also contains important archaeological and ethnohistorical information. This paper describes a Mississippi Gulf Coast case study that explores the potential anthropological research value of HRS county archives.