The Science Seminar Series: February 26, 2009
Geoarchaeology of Governor's Island in New York Bay .
Dr. Don Thieme
Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences
Valdosta State University
Place: Powell Hall
Time: 4:00 -5:00pm
Governors Island is a prominent landmark in New York Bay which recently
changed hands when the United States Coast Guard moved off of the island. Recently completed geological investigations provide new information about
how the island formed and how people shaped the surface of the island over
time. Historic deposits are found in several locations on the original,
northerly portion of the island. Sediments which contain artifacts and other
cultural residues are rich in organic matter, available phosphorus, lead, and zinc. Basal sediments which have not been affected by human activity
show differences in grain size that suggest a variety of depositional environments. Radiocarbon dates suggest that the deposits examined span the
time from the end of the last ice age to the present. Shoreline deposits on the island contain marine shell and shell hash and occur well above the
elevation of the present shoreline.