Northeastern Section - 56th Annual Meeting - 2021

Paper No. 4-6
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


SCHILD, Kristin, School of Earth and Climate Sciences and Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469 and KELLEY, Alice, School of Earth & Climate Sciences, Climate Change Institute, and Depart. of Anthropology, University of Maine, Bryand Global Science Center, Orono, ME 04469

Maine’s approximately 2000 shell middens are an irreplaceable archive of archaeological, faunal and floral material that record ancient lifeways and environments along Maine’s coast. However, virtually all shell middens are eroding in the face of the climate change-related factors (sea level rise, increased storm frequency and intensity and more freeze-thaw events. Some only exist as small remnants or have disappeared completely. The established Midden Minders citizen-science program relies on measurements from an established baseline to track erosion rates of shell middens. This approach is useful for sites up to 30 m in length, but is difficult to apply to larger sites or remote island locations. In this pilot project we invited undergraduate students enrolled in a skills-based Remote Sensing/GIS course to expand the Midden Minders to large midden sites that otherwise would not be observed. Students worked with drone imagery, GPS data, and remote sensing imagery to create spatially referenced 3D benchmark measurements for further monitoring. In this presentation, we will discuss the novel use of drone imagery in coastal preservation, integration of drone-based research into the undergraduate curriculum, and also some of the methods we employed to continue active and hands-on learning during the pandemic.