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

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Testing Gerasimov’s two-tangent nose projection method in craniofacial approximations of children

Date created: 
2015-12-03
Abstract: 

Craniofacial approximation is an artistic process in which a potential face is created over the skull of an unknown individual in order to assist with identification. It is often not performed on children due to the lack of research in this area. There are currently several methods in use to predict the nose pronasale position, the oldest and purportedly most accurate and precise of which was the two-tangent method proposed by Mikhail Gerasimov in 1955 (13, 14, 17, 23, 24, 27, 28). To determine if this method is accurate for children of different age groups, 280 (140 male, 140 female) lateral cephalograms were imported into Adobe Photoshop® 7 where the soft tissue outline is removed to estimate the position of the pronasale using Gerasimov’s two-tangent method. The soft tissue outline layer was reapplied, and the predicted pronasale was compared to the actual pronasale using a Cartesian system. ANOVA and t-tests were performed to compare the position of the actual and predicted pronasale between age groups of the same sex, between sexes, and age groups of different sexes. Results show that this method only is accurate and precise for male juveniles between the ages of 9-12. According to these findings, Gerasimov’s two-tangent method should probably not be used for facial approximations on children.

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

Using Ancient mtDNA to Track Temporal Genetic Changes of Pacific Herring Populations in the Central Coast of British Columbia

Date created: 
2015-12-15
Abstract: 

Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) are an important species of marine ecosystems, and to Coastal First Nations. Herring are now in decline across the Northeast Pacific, but there is much debate on the nature of this decline and its potential impacts on biological diversity of the species. This research project takes an in-depth look at mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of ancient herring bones recovered from stratified midden deposits at Namu, British Columbia to document changes in genetic diversity through time (7000 – 100 BP), and to explore the possibility of identifying region-specific herring populations. This study processed 60 samples with a success rate of 83.3% for mtDNA sequence analysis. Our data show that ancient DNA is generally well preserved in ancient herring remains as old as 7000BP, demonstrating the potential for retrieving genetic information about herring of the past. However, our mtDNA (D-loop and cytb) markers proved to be less informative in revealing changes of population diversity. Nuclear DNA markers and next generation sequencing technology are expected to make good use of the recovered herring DNA to better reconstruct natural history in the region.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Dongya Yang
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Influence of Surgical Stress on Human Scalp Hair Fiber Dimensions

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-16
Abstract: 

Human scalp hair is an ideal medium for investigating the physiology and chemistry of an individual at the time of hair formation. Hair is taphonomically robust and, through its continuous growth, creates a chronological record of biochemical history. Changes to the physical characteristics of human scalp hair can therefore provide information on the presence and timing of antemortem acute physiological stress events. Scalp hair samples were collected from males undergoing abdominal surgery for a variety of medical conditions. Surgery is a known and potent activator of the systemic stress response and the acute phase response, both of which require protein and lipid substrates for survival and wound healing. Hair samples were long enough to cover up to one month prior to surgery and one month following surgery. Methods for the assessment of hair fiber growth were compared for utility in stress analysis. Dimensions such as total fiber diameter, cuticle thickness, and cortex diameter were compared prior to and following surgery. This study was approved by all appropriate Ethics Review Boards. Results of method comparison suggest that increased magnification from standard 400x to 1000x does not provide significantly different data. Measuring hair diameter digitally also does not provide data which differ significantly from diameter measured manually. Variables constructed from combined measurements do provide data more appropriate for detecting stress-related changes in the hair fiber than single dimension variables. Fiber dimensions analysed showed statistically significant differences between pre- and post-operative values, which returned to normal in the fourth post-operative week.

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

Developing a method for assessing the skilfulness and practice time of Upper Palaeolithic representative artists

Date created: 
2014-08-12
Abstract: 

Archaeologists have tended to approach Upper Palaeolithic art in the way that art historians and critics approach modern art—with a focus on meaning. While this approach has yielded interesting results, its dominance has led to the neglect of another important aspect of art—the skill required to produce it. Research on the acquisition of skill across a wide range of activities suggests that an individual’s level of skill in a given activity is primarily determined by the number of hours they have practiced that activity. I developed an experimental approach for the evaluation of skill in representative drawing, a common form of Upper Palaeolithic art. First, I devised a set of criteria that can be used to evaluate drawing skill. Then, I asked 30 subjects with varying amounts of experience to produce drawings and to provide an estimate of their hours of practice. Next, the subjects’ drawings were scored with the evaluation criteria. Lastly, I regressed the scores for the drawings on hours of practice. The results indicate a strong, significant relationship between drawing skill and number of hours of practice. The rate of the participant artists skill acquisition increased steadily in congruence with their increased practice time, until they reached approximately 10,000 hours, and their abilities plateaued. With this result and a reliable set of criteria for the evaluation of skill in drawing, I am prepared to move onto the second phase of this study, which is the evaluation of skill in representative UP art.

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

Ancient DNA Analysis of Middle and Late Period Archaeological Fish Remains from Kamloops, British Columbia

Date created: 
2014-07-09
Abstract: 

In this study, ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis was used to assign species identifications to a sample of Middle (7,000 to 4,500 years BP) and Late (4,500 to 200 years BP) Period fish remains from EeRb-144, a large campsite located in the Interior Plateau region of south-central British Columbia, Canada. The results of this analysis indicate that largescale sucker (Catostomus macrocheilus) (NISP=12) and northern pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) (NISP=8) are the most abundant species in the assemblage of Late Period fish remains from EeRb-144. This suggests these two taxa were the focus of the Late Period fishery at EeRb-144. Smaller quantities of peamouth chub (Mylocheilus caurinus) (NISP=3), longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus) (NISP=1), and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (NISP=1) were also identified in the assemblage. Ecological data concerning the seasonal availability of these taxa and limited ethnographic accounts suggest EeRb-144’s Late Period fishery likely occurred during the spring and summer. The Middle Period fishery at the site also harvested largescale sucker (NISP=2), peamouth chub (NISP=1), and longnose sucker (NISP=1). These findings indicate locally abundant resident fish species were a potentially significant component of EeRb-144’s pre-contact fisheries, corroborating and refining the results of morphological faunal analyses from the area. In addition, the identification of largescale sucker, peamouth chub, and longnose sucker in both assemblages suggests there was some long-term continuity in fishing practices at the site. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using ancient DNA analysis to identify fish remains from a variety of taxa to the species-level even when they lack taxonomically informative morphological features. The results also highlight that in order to improve aDNA analysis’ ability to discriminate between fish species there needs to be continued research into identifying useful DNA markers for species identification.

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

Indigenous Heritage and Public Museums: Exploring Collaboration and Exhibition in Canada and the United States

Date created: 
2015-06-22
Abstract: 

The struggle for Indigenous rights to self-determination has included the recognition that Indigenous peoples are stakeholders in the treatment of their cultural heritage within museums. Large public museums tasked with representing Indigenous heritage tend to support the principle of working with communities to create exhibits, but studies on specific practices are lacking. I address this problem by asking: “What does ethical collaborative practice look like in the context of museum exhibit creation?” My research falls under three themes: 1) the history of collaborative practice; 2) collaborative processes; and 3) exhibit design. I show that patterns of increased collaboration were influenced by larger trends in Indigenous rights movements, and introduce the term “Indigenous museology” to frame engagement between Indigenous peoples and museums. I have defined Indigenous museology as museum work done “with, by, and for” Indigenous peoples, whereby they are recognized as primary stakeholders in museological practices. This dissertation presents a broad overview of the development of Indigenous museology over time, while focusing on exhibit creation as a key practice. My fieldwork consisted of a multi-site ethnographic study at four large, public museums: the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii; the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colorado; and the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. By exploring how these museums have engaged Indigenous peoples in exhibit creation, I found a variety of independent adoptions of similar principles. My results show that museums adopt a range of methods to engage communities, and that a “one-size-fits-all” practice for collaboration is impractical. Several patterns emerged that illustrate models for good practice. A preferred approach is to engage Indigenous peoples from the outset of projects. Even better is the involvement of Indigenous peoples as staff museum members working on interpretation. Techniques for effective design include storytelling, mobilizing “Native voice,” and programming that includes Indigenous peoples. Strong institutional mission and vision statements are also important. These ways of working are significant trends in museum practice. Finally, research on Indigenous museology illustrates how ethical, collaborative practices manifest and can be further developed within museums.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
George Nicholas
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Changing Ways, Constant Companions: The Ancient DNA and Local Knowledge of Tla'amin Dogs

Date created: 
2014-06-26
Abstract: 

Until the mid-nineteenth century, First Nations peoples in British Columbia valued dogs as hunting aides, draught animals, sources of fibre and food, protectors, and companions. Unfortunately, the details of these past human-dog relationships are not well known. To understand the importance of these dogs in general, and particularly the dogs once kept by Tla’amin people, this study integrates ancient DNA analyses with local knowledge. Interviews with Tla’amin community members and the presence of archaeological dog burials clearly show that dogs were an important part of ancestral Tla’amin society. Additionally, local knowledge and ethnographic evidence indicates that breeding and training practices served to both reinforce the bond between dogs and humans, and to improve the hunting ability of dogs. Ancient DNA analysis of 17 skeletal dog remains (3500-430 ya) from six archaeological sites in Tla’amin traditional territory has revealed a minor mtDNA haplogroup that was only found in Tla’amin dogs, however, the majority of mtDNA haplotypes are shared with many other archaeological dogs in BC. These results are consistent with local knowledge and ethnographic evidence regarding native North American dogs, and are reflective of trade networks and kin relations in BC, which may have facilitated the distribution of these dog haplotypes. This study highlights the importance of integrating archaeological data with local knowledge and cultural context to achieve a more complete understanding of the relationship between humans and their biological worlds.

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

Ancient Human DNA Research in North America and Abroad: Challenges and Opportunities

Date created: 
2015-07-07
Abstract: 

The field of ancient DNA has revolutionized the way in which archaeologists and anthropologists investigate the lives of ancient people. However, there is a growing awareness that genetic research has important and diverse implications for people living today. These considerations are of particular importance for Indigenous peoples for whom genetic pronouncements about identity and ancestry may have important social, cultural, and political consequences. This thesis addresses these complex issues through three sources of information: literature on genetic research involving modern populations and how this translates to the context of ancient DNA; a review of case studies involving the genetic analysis of eight archaeological individuals found in British Columbia; and a survey completed by 47 ancient DNA researchers working around the world. The results of this tripartite study suggest that researchers working in this field face an array of social, ethical, and political challenges that differ significantly depending on the geographic location of their study. The unique needs, interests, and values of descendant communities situated around the world, and with whom the survey respondents interact, are important factors to consider when interpreting this difference. Three recommendations are provided along with relevant resources to assist researchers in navigating the challenges of ancient DNA research and to create opportunities for a more equitable and collaborative investigation of the human past.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
George Nicholas
Department: 
Environment:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Expedient shell scrapers in the Kingdom of Tonga

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-02-19
Abstract: 

Shell has played a significant role as a raw material for tool manufacture in the South Pacific. Archaeological research on Lapita (2850-2650 cal. BP) sites in the Kingdom of Tonga recovered an assemblage of Anadara antiquata valves with what appears to be deliberate edge modification. These were collected, but at the time of collection, the origin of the shells was unknown. No other researcher had determined if these shells had been modified anthropogenically or whether the modification was the result of natural taphonomic processes. This study investigates whether or not the recovered valves represent a type of expedient shell tool, and if so, how they can be differentiated from naturally fragmented Anadara antiquata. The techniques used to assist in making these determinations include morphological analysis, a variety of experimental analyses, and a low power starch analysis.Taken together, the results of these analyses provide a robust case for the consideration of the valves as scraping tools, and further, they provide guidelines for identification of such artifacts in the field.

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

Reauthorizing Kanaka Oiwi Heritage Discourse at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Hawaii

Date created: 
2014-07-24
Abstract: 

This case study examines how the management practices of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park affect Kānaka ‘Ōiwi (also known as Native Hawaiians) and communities the park was created to serve. This National Historical Park was established in 1978 to provide a center for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi and others to rejuvenate the Hawaiian culture by rehabilitating Kaloko-Honokōhau as a thriving cultural landscape. However, as of 2014, the Park Service has yet to achieve the goals set out by the United States Congress in 1978. The National Park staff struggles to rehabilitate Kaloko-Honokōhau, that is, as deemed appropriate and desired by Kānaka ‘Ōiwi and non-Kānaka ‘Ōiwi. I use documentary data and information from interviews to understand Kaloko-Honokōhau management history, policy, and practice. I give particular attention to the management of Kānaka ‘Ōiwi cultural heritage and to how management practices and park policies create management challenges. I describe the shared goals of Kānaka ‘Ōiwi and non-Kānaka ‘Ōiwi and provide recommendations to re-align Park Service management practices with policy as a way to better fulfill the Congressional intentions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John R. Welch
George P. Nicholas
Department: 
Environment:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.