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Noted archaeologist to give NDSU seminars

The NDSU Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Department of Geosciences are set to host Marshall I. Weisler, professor and head of archaeology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He is scheduled to present "Human Settlement of Pacific Atolls and Responses to Changing Climate and Atoll Landscapes over Two Millennia," Tuesday, April 21, at 2 p.m. in 223 Ag and Biosystems Building.

According to Weisler, Pacific atolls are the most precarious coastal landforms found anywhere on Earth. Scarcely more than 2 meters above sea level, they evidence some of first effects of sea-level rise and have been likened to "canaries in the cage" for signaling warnings to the world.

A long-term multi-disciplinary research project was initiated in 1993 to investigate human adaptations to low coral atolls, economic and social responses to changing landforms and charting islet formation in the Republic of the Marshall Islands during the past 2,000 years. The island group, consisting of 29 atolls spread across more than 775,000 square miles of ocean, is situated about 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii.

Excavations were conducted on four atolls spread 500 miles, from the north where there is 1,500 millimeters of annual rainfall, to the south where there is 4,000 millimeters of rainfall per year. The archaeological data provides a long-term record for understanding future trends that may affect contemporary island societies.

Weisler also is scheduled to present "Isotopes and Archaeology" Thursday, April 24, at 4 p.m. in Stevens Hall 134.

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