Susan Benston

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen M. Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Nassaney

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Geography and a geographic perspective are an important contribution to many other disciplines. This thesis project is designed to bring a geographic perspective to an ongoing archaeological investigation. The project is focused on Fort Saint Joseph, a French colonial mission, garrison and trading post built in 1691 and occupied for 90 years. The site has been excavated for six years and plans are in place for annual excavations until 2018. As the body of information about the site increases, a system for tracking geographic information about the site and the recovered artifacts becomes more vital. In this first application of computer mapping to the Fort St. Joseph project, ArcGIS is used to record and quantify excavation results, geophysical survey data, GPS data, and topographical data about the site. GIS analysis enables calculation of densities of artifact types, comparison of relationships between artifact recovery zones and predictions of unknown artifact densities. Primarily the thesis will provide an exploratory view of the excavations at Fort St. Joseph, putting the spatial information about the site into a database for the first time and beginning to discern spatial patterns.

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