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Without attention to the questions that archaeologists have asked of the places and processes they study, it won’t be possible to connect insights from the past to major issues facing modern society, such as climate change. Without conserving a diversity of heritage sites, we risk losing the scientific basis for creative responses to modern issues, such as climate change. And without clearly linking the problems around preserving heritage to solutions heritage can supply, we risk losing needed support for heritage conservation, particularly as climate impacts accelerate. These three stories are closely interwoven. Drawing on experiences in the US federal government working with climate change, cultural heritage, and homeland security, this presentation suggests some new approaches to connecting the past to the present, and looking at what we save, how, and why.
Marcy Rockman is an archaeologist turned international climate change policy wonk. Her research focus is how humans gather, share, remember, and transmit environmental information, particularly during colonization, and she’s used this to address situations as diverse as cultural resource management in the American Southwest and homeland security risk communication in Washington, DC. Currently she serves as the US National Park Service (NPS) Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for Cultural Resources and will be speaking in the capacity of her role in the newly formed International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Climate Change and Heritage Working Group as team lead for coordination with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr. Rockman holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona, and B.Sc. in Geology from the College of William and Mary. Her major publications include Colonization of Unfamiliar Landscapes: The Archaeology of Adaptation and Archaeology in Society: Its Relevance in the Modern World.