(University of Bristol)
Paper Short Abstract:
Hurricane Katrina's destruction of the US Gulf Coast in 2005 represents a recordable, archaeological landscape of contemporary history. This paper will discuss the significance of modern ruins, the material record of the reclamation process, and the guidance needed to preserve the historic record.
Paper long abstract:
Since making landfall on 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina has been used by individuals of the Gulf Coast regions and fellow United States citizens to mark time. The destruction of homes and the displacement of approximately two million people left a visible scar of the event that remains over three years later. Although a region accustomed to hurricane devastation, this population has experienced a cultural shift in the wake of life post-Katrina. Communities, though being rebuilt, are not the same. Absences exist where once stood houses. On a personal level, cherished materials have been lost or destroyed. A general misunderstanding of how to memorialize these cultural changes exists. These traumatic societal changes necessitate the participation of archaeologists beyond the 'normal' bounds of salvage archaeology to record and preserve a contemporary culture in danger of being forgotten in the rebuilding efforts. This paper will discuss the significance of modern ruins, the material record of the reclamation process, and the guidance needed to preserve the historic record.
Ruins: perception, reception and reality