Archaeology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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An archaeological investigation of subalpine and alpine use in the southeast Yukon

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-25
Abstract: 

An archaeological land use model for subalpine and alpine environments for southeast Yukon was developed using available ethnographic, archaeological and environmental data. The model describes a pattern of dispersed predominantly short-term hunting camps or lookouts located primarily in the subalpine with limited use of alpine zones. These results were compared to the findings of a heritage resource management project conducted in Don Creek Valley and Howard’s Pass, Yukon. This data generally conformed well to the model with some unexpected exceptions regarding the density and increased number of sites (n=47) recorded in the subalpine and alpine. Factors for the unexpected site density could possibly be due to the concentration of economically important resources or the use of Howard’s Pass as a travel route. Overall the results of this thesis underscore the importance of upland areas to the groups that inhabited this region of the Yukon.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Burley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

An evaluation of the infrared 630cm-1 O-H libration band in bone mineral as evidence of fire in the early archaeological record

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-06-24
Abstract: 

FTIR spectroscopy has played an important role in recent attempts to understand the use of fire in prehistory. It has been used in the identification of heat altered sediment and bone. For the latter, the presence of the OH libration band at ca. 630cm-1 in the FTIR spectrum of an archaeological bone has been assumed to be indicative of bone that has been altered by fire. However, no ad-hoc research has explored whether this FTIR band could result from other ambient temperature diagenetic processes, or what the effects of heating variables may be on the appearance of this band. Here, I report a study designed to address this lacuna, and apply the results to the collection of fauna at Wonderwerk Cave from the Oldowan context. Using samples of cortical bone from micro- and macrofauna, I carried out a series of heating experiments to explore the change in FTIR spectra depending on temperature and duration of exposure to heat. Results demonstrate that the 630cm-1 peak is indeed diagnostic of burning, and indicate that microfauna are particularly useful indicators of burning activity when subjected to FTIR analysis. I hypothesize that the 630cm-1 peak is the result of the formation of pure hydroxyapatite, which appears to form above temperatures of 537°C. The results of this research were applied to the micro- and macrofauna collection of Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa, from the Earlier Stone Age context of 1.78Ma and older. Our results demonstrate that the majority of the bones from this context were burnt above 537°C.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Francesco Berna
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite Transition in Eastern Tigrai, Ethiopia: The View from Ona Adi

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-12
Abstract: 

The Pre-Aksumite to Aksumite transition (PA-A transition) is a critically important period in the culture history of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa (ca. 400 BC – 1st century AD). Previous hypotheses derived from archaeological surveys, that the settlement of large sites in Eastern Tigrai was continuous during the PA-A transition, are tested in this study. A main objective of this dissertation is to develop the first systematic ceramic chronology of the PA-A transition and the Aksumite period in Eastern Tigrai, based on excavation and ceramic analysis completed at the site of Ona Adi. The work involved the definition of main features of the Agame Ceramic Tradition. This research, in addition to completed survey data, highlights the distant political and economic relationship between the putative centres of Aksum/Yeha and the outlying region of Eastern Tigrai during the PA-A transition and the Aksumite period. It also provides a glimpse into the social dynamics of the PA-A transition at Ona Adi and the political role of Eastern Tigrai during the PA-A transition and the Aksumite period in the Horn of Africa. The work also explores the local cultural development and the impacts of cultural contacts between Eastern Tigrai and surrounding areas during the PA-A transition and Aksumite period. The results represent important baseline data to facilitate the development of future archaeological investigations in the region.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Catherine D'Andrea
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Archaeology of Internment at the Morrissey WWI Camp

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-19
Abstract: 

To date, very little is known archaeologically about First World War-era internment camps, especially in Canada, where this history was actively erased through the destruction of the Federal Internment records in the 1950s. Archaeologists can play a fundamental role in contributing knowledge where oral and documentary evidence is lacking. This can be undertaken through a triangulation of data sets commonly used by conflict archaeologists. This thesis focuses on one of Canada’s twenty-four WWI internment camps: the Morrissey Internment Camp. Through GPR survey and excavation, archival records retrieval, and oral histories, a critical theoretical lens was applied to the stories of the internees—immigrants from the multinational Austro-Hungarian, German, and Ottoman Empires—and their guards at the Morrissey Internment Camp. The material record adds a new line of evidence, contributing to a more nuanced perspective that aids in reducing the gaps in this dark facet of Canadian history.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Ross Jamieson
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Vacuum truck excavation as a new and effective technique in urban archaeology; an in-depth assessment and comparison against traditional methodology

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-18
Abstract: 

Archaeological investigations were undertaken at multiple locations throughout Indianapolis as part of a large, high-profile cultural resource management project. One section of this project focused on the remains of an early twentieth-century neighborhood, currently an urban park. As part of the archaeological investigations conducted within the park, archaeologists experimented with the use of a vacuum truck, which uses compressed air to excavate sediments. Excavation with the vacuum truck was found to be faster and less expensive when compared to traditional hand excavation methods. Artifact recovery was consistent with traditional methods, though resulted in slightly less artifact damage. The vacuum truck was able to excavate deeper within a smaller surface area than possible with hand methods, allowing archaeologists to see beneath dense deposits of urban fill. It is recommended that this excavation method be utilized in urban archaeological settings.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Jonathan Driver
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Assessing the impact of high versus low velocity thoracic trauma: A study of experimental rib fracturing using juvenile pigs (Sus scrofa)

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-16
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to provide experimental data to inform how juvenile porcine torsos behave under conditions of high versus low velocity impact to further understand the effects of compressive trauma on the juvenile torso. The primary goal was to analyze the relationship between rib fracture patterns and the impact direction and velocity to understand how fracture patterns can inform the mechanism of injury. A juvenile porcine model was used to examine the effects of experimental impact to the torso at two different loading rates: static (0.01 m/s), and dynamic (0.4 m/s). The torsos were tested in two distinct impact directions: anteroposterior and lateral. A total sample of 24 juvenile pigs aged approximately 1 to 2 weeks and weighing between 1.3–2.1 kilograms were used. The sample was separated into four groups (SAP – static anteroposterior, SL – static lateral, DAP – dynamic anteroposterior, DL – dynamic lateral), each with six specimens, to assess for differing impact velocities and directions. The experimental variables that were examined were: 1) if the fracture was complete or incomplete, or if only plastic deformation occurred; 2) the side of the fracture; 3) the location of the fracture on the rib; and 4) the location of tension failure. The total number of ribs that were examined was 725 ribs. The results show that there is a relationship between the four experimental groups, and impact velocity and direction. The SAP group produced more incomplete fractures, fractures that occurred mostly on the right side, and at the anterior region, and failed in tension more often on the cutaneal side; the SL group had a small frequency of fractures that did not allow for definitive conclusions to be made; the DAP group produced more complete fractures, fractures that occurred mostly on the right side, and at the posterior neck, and failed in tension more often on the visceral side; the DL group produced mostly complete fractures, at the anterolateral and anterior region, and failed in tension on the visceral side. There were variation among the experimental groups, and some specimens showed no fractures. This study shows that fracture pattern analyses can be potentially used to differentiate the four experimental groups. The current study enhances the knowledge the forensic community has on the effects of compressive trauma to the juvenile torso.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Hugo Cardoso
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

River through the dry prairie: Heritage resource management and the archaeology of the southeastern Qu'Appelle River Valley in Saskatchewan

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-08
Abstract: 

I have worked in the Heritage Resource Management Industry since 2013 on various projects in western Canada. In this thesis, I present a range of data recovered from one of these projects in the Qu’Appelle River Valley of south-central Saskatchewan. Here I integrate excavation results from three sites and position these results within their geological and environmental context, the archaeological culture history for the study area, as well as documented First Nations history in the region. I expand the archaeological context for the study through examination of other sites in the vicinity, the dominant majority having been documented during other heritage impact assessment projects. My first objective for the thesis was to provide a synthesis of prehistory in the region as best as these data would allow. In this respect, I have been largely limited to the Late Prehistoric Period where Avonlea and Old Women’s phase peoples were inhabiting the Qu’Appelle landscape. A second objective has been to assess the usefulness of the unpublished gray area literature as it might facilitate and support the production of a synthesis. This literature is limited in a variety of ways, but it provides some insight that otherwise would not be present.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Burley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Territory, tenure, and territoriality among the ancestral Coast Salish of SW British Columbia and NW Washington State

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-09-26
Abstract: 

Archaeological studies of territory, tenure, and territoriality seek to understand how past claims and access to land and resources were expressed across landscapes and through time. The foci of such studies include the spatial and temporal patterning of settlements, dwellings, conspicuous burials, monumental constructions, rock art, defensive features, and resources. In line with this research, this dissertation integrates ethnohistoric and archaeological data in three case studies that investigate the roles of house forms, the distribution of local and nonlocal obsidian, and the positioning of defensive networks in communicating territorial and tenurial interests among the ancestral Coast Salish of southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington state.To understand how territorial and tenurial claims were expressed among the ancestral Coast Salish, the three studies consider the significance of the ethnohistoric Coast Salish social structure defined by bilateral kinship, group exogamy, and wide-ranging social networks in the communication of group interests. The first study supports the extant hypothesis of a regional move into large multifamily houses circa 2300 cal. BP. I hypothesize that this move was, in part, a consequence of regional population increases and its attendant territoriality and was facilitated by the structured flexibility of Coast Salish society and a pre-existing modular architecture that both reflected and reinforced the social structure. The distributions of local and nonlocal obsidian across the Salish Sea region are used in the second study to investigate the potential directionality and reach of ancestral social networks. I argue that these networks, developed from the practice of group exogamy, enabled the expression of tenurial claims as part of ongoing practices associated with gaining, maintaining, and legitimizing access to distant resources. Finally, the interrelationship of social networks and defensive networks among the ancestral Northern Coast Salish-Tla’amin are examined. I propose that these linked networks maximized defensibility at settlement and allied settlement scales in a form of defensive territoriality that served to communicate territorial and tenurial interests during periods of conflict.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dana Lepofsky
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The present status of the curation crisis and deaccessioning in the United States

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-01-21
Abstract: 

Archaeological collections in the United States were deemed to be in crisis in the 1970s. Federal curation guidelines were issued in 1990 with 36 CFR Part 79, followed by a call for national standards by the Society for American Archaeology. It is not clear if these were successful because the current status of collections is generally unknown. Given this, I surveyed curation practices at 11 major US archaeological repositories, impediments to their implementation of modern curation standards, and their deaccessioning policies. Although many of the individual standards were being met, around one-third of the collections do not meet all the standards. Methods used to meet standards varied across institutions, and the major contributor to collections was heritage resource management. Funding and space were the most often reported impediments. Every institution reported deaccessioning, but not all had policies. Ultimately, collections have improved since the 1970s, but further progress is needed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Collard
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Building representation: The development of Barkerville Historic Town & Park’s Chinese narrative

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-13
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the long-term effects of multiculturalism on the representation of minority groups in museum interpretations in Canada. This is explored through a case study of Barkerville Historic Town & Park, focusing on the museum’s inclusion of the Chinese narrative through time. It traces the changing interpretations of the Chinese in Barkerville, and explores the social, academic, and political forces that act on museums and museum representation. Overall, the presentation of the Chinese experience at Barkerville developed substantially over the past 60 years. This development has relied on many factors, including, research available to advance the Chinese interpretation program; resources available to complete Chinese exhibits; interests in including minority narratives.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Welch
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.