The water level continues to rise in Jamestown (United States), the founding place of the American nation.

On May 4, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the town on its annual list of the country's eleven most endangered historic sites.

The floods are indeed more and more frequent, immersing the former cemetery of the English colony, which has become a historic site, or the remains of a fort built in 1607. Faced with the rise in the level of the oceans and the intensification of the global warming, a race against time is on.

🇺🇸 United States: the city of Jamestown in Virginia, founding place of the American nation, is threatened by rising waters.


▶️ A race against time is underway to protect the city and its historical heritage.https://t.co/IZRhyWCrLP pic.twitter.com/Uv9v7ZAG87

— TV5MONDE Info (@TV5MONDEINFO) May 17, 2022


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A “perfect illustration” of climate change

"We must act, and now," insists Michael Lavin, director of collections for the Jamestown Rediscovery association.

“We have almost always known this place to be dry,” adds David Givens, director of archeology who has worked here for more than twenty years.

The day's flood rose to one meter, a height that will be the permanent standard by the end of the century.

"It's a perfect illustration of rising sea levels, climate change and how it affects us," continues the archaeologist.

Sea levels at the mouth of the James River have already risen 45cm since 1927. The concern is all the greater as the site, which hosted Native American tribes for 12,000 before settlers arrived, is a concentrate of American history.

A "permanent fight" for archaeologists

At the foot of the old church, an archaeologist works surrounded by sandbags and tarpaulins.

“It adds stress because we have to keep everything dry,” she explains.

The place has made it possible to make exceptional discoveries but future uncoverings may never take place, as the floods damage the buried bones.

"It's like a war, with sandbags and trenches, because it's a permanent fight for us", underlines David Givens.

“Over time, these archaeological sites will be inaccessible, eroded by seawater and flooding.

And that's what scares me the most.

»

A project worth more than 2 million dollars has been launched to reinforce the existing dike, already built at the beginning of the 20th century to protect the site from erosion.

This is only a first step: against the floods, studies are launched.

“It will cost tens of millions of dollars,” warns Michael Lavin.

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  • Archeology

  • UNITED STATES

  • Flood

  • Monument

  • Global warming

  • Climate change

  • Sea

  • Planet

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