Date of Award

8-2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Nassaney

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

In the field of archaeology, surveying and mapping have played key roles in documenting and analyzing site data. With the advancements in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this integration of spatial data is made easier and better visualization can be attained for site layout and artifact distributions both horizontally, in space, and also vertically through a temporal component. The ongoing excavations at Fort St. Joseph (Smithsonian trinomial- 20BE23), near Niles, Michigan, makes it an excellent site for exploring the evolution of applied GIS methodology and the adjustment of among ongoing static database applications to new spatial methods of investigating site distributions. The fort was occupied from 1691 until 1781, over which time it was a mission, military garrison, and trading post. Excavations have taken place annually since 2002 with a hiatus in 2003 , 2005, and 2014, providing 11 years of data for analysis. The purpose of this project is to use GIS to assess the ways in which the dynamic nature of long term archaeological digs, with data being added annually, changes the understanding of spatial and temporal patterns over time. Analysis will include measures of artifact densities, and relationships among spatial patterning of artifact classes, as well as predictions and interpretations of these densities and distributions. An additional outcome of this project will be an active and updatable, documented geodatabase that links artifact and site data with a geographic location, useable by those involved with research in the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project.

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