of the Interior), began a detailed study of five of the best-documented collections, the ones with recorded dates and locations for the finds. It seems clear that artifacts and fossils are arriving on the beach from a submerged, offshore source area, perhaps at no great distance or depth in the Gulf.
Her study included 880 artifacts, or about a third of the total known from the site at the time. dissertation at American University, her study was published in 1999 by the Minerals Management Service and remains the chief source of information on the site. It is also clear that both the present beach area and the offshore source were actually high and dry parts of the inland coastal zone until relatively recently in geologic history.
In 1983, avocational archeologist Paul Tanner of Port Arthur began keeping detailed locational records of artifacts found on the beach, and over time became the chief field researcher for the site.
At about the same time, the Minerals Management Service in the US Department of the Interior became concerned about the possible impact of petroleum exploration and recovery on submerged archeological sites on the continental shelf, and commissioned some studies of the seafloor geology.
A 1986 study by Charles Pearson and others from Coastal Environments reconstructs the submergence history of the drowned Sabine River valley south of Mc Faddin Beach.
The Texas coastline is a dynamic environment where sand can either be added or subtracted by currents and storm surges, and Mc Faddin Beach is a place where net erosion of sand has been taking place, flanked on either side by areas of net accretion.
Despite this, it is clear that the artifacts are washing ashore from the Gulf, not eroding out from deposits behind the beach.
Assessing the rate of rise in the Gulf is complicated by the fact that eustatic sea level indicators in the Gulf of Mexico tend to plot higher than contemporaneous indicators elsewhere in the world (for discussion, see the reference by Simms and others in “Sources”).
The oldest radiocarbon dated shell or peat samples cored from the northern Gulf are about 19,700 calendar years old. D.), the shoreline was approximately in its present position.
These new studies suggest that maximum glaciation (and consequently, minimum sea levels) occurred about 26,000 calendar years ago, with sea level about 125 meters lower than at present.