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

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Heiltsuk Adoption of Euro-American Material Culture at Old Bella Bella, British Columbia, 1833-1899

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-02-20
Abstract: 

The contact-era Heiltsuk settlement of Old Bella Bella, British Columbia, site of both HBC Fort McLoughlin (1833-1843) and a Methodist mission (1880-1890), existed during a time of rapid change resulting from interactions with Euro-American groups. Notable among these changes is a shift from traditional plank houses to European-style single-family frame houses that occurred shortly after missionary arrival. Using data collected during a 1982 excavation, this study compares the artifact assemblages from Fort McLoughlin, one contact-era traditional plank house, and one frame house to analyze changes in the frequencies of various artifact types between the two contact periods. By looking at how European goods were incorporated by the Heiltsuk into their culture over time, this research examines the process of adoption of Euro-American material culture on the Northwest Coast and explores the idea that material culture was actively used by the missionaries as a tool of enculturation.

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

Remembering the Forgotten Archaeology at the Morrissey WWI Internment Camp

Date created: 
2015-04-09
Abstract: 

To date, there is very little known archaeologically about First World War era Internment Camps, especially in Canada where many of the Federal Internment records were destroyed in the 1950s. Archaeologists can play a fundamental role in contributing knowledge where there remains a lack of oral and documentary evidence through a triangulation of data sets commonly used by historical archaeologists. This thesis focuses on one of Canada’s twenty-four WWI internment camps – Morrissey Internment Camp, and specifically its cemetery. Through an archaeological landscape analysis, GPR survey of the cemetery, archives retrieval and oral history interviews, the story of the Morrissey Internment Camp was brought to light and gaps in the historical record finally answered.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eldon Yellowhorn
Department: 
Environment: Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Identifying Microblade Function at EeRb-140 and EeRb-144, Kamloops, British Columbia

Date created: 
2015-03-06
Abstract: 

The microblade industry of the Pacific Northwest represents a discrete artifact category that is often cited as temporal and/or cultural markers, yet their precise function is poorly understood. The research presented here explored microblade function through use-wear analyses of assemblages collected from two Middle Period-aged sites (7,500-4,000 years BP) on the Kamloops Indian Reserve, EeRb-140 and EeRb-144. These two sites, related closely in terms of space and time, offer a good opportunity to explore some of the assumptions about microblade and their potential functions. Microblades are considered important indicators of Middle Period components. When encountered they are often presumed to reflect either elements of composite hunting weapons or implements utilized for a suite of specialized activities. However the results of the use-wear analysis indicate that, at least at EeRb-140 and EeRb-144, microblades served many purposes. The functional inferences observed in the Kamloops microblade assemblages indicate a degree of multifunctionality consistent with previous functional studies.

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

Emergence and Development of Ancestral Polynesian Society in Tonga

Date created: 
2014-11-21
Abstract: 

Patrick V. Kirch and Roger C. Green proposed that Polynesian cultures today emerged and developed in an ancestral homeland situated in western Polynesia, primarily Tonga and Sāmoa. The archaeological marker for the beginnings of cultural and linguistic divergence from a founding Eastern Lapita base is Polynesian Plainware pottery produced for nearly 1,100 years during the Polynesian Plainware phase. Kirch and Green believe this transition reflects social and economic changes that led to the development of an ancestral Polynesian society. An ongoing debate in Pacific anthropology is whether archaeologists can convincingly identify and explain the historical trajectory of an ancestral Polynesian society. My dissertation evaluates the development of an ancestral Polynesian society in Tonga by identifying three processes that shaped its trajectory: isolation, integration, and adaptation. By focusing largely on undecorated ceramics from several Tongan sites, comparisons can be made within Tonga and across the archipelagos of western Polynesia that have implications for understanding unique island histories. If Polynesian culture developed in western Polynesia then the evidence for social and economic change may potentially be reflected in an adequate assessment of the archaeological record from the end of the Lapita phase into the Polynesian Plainware phase. That includes not only ceramic data but non-ceramic data such as site distribution, settlement patterns, subsistence practices, demographic studies, and geochemical source data – all of which provide a more holistic view of early Polynesian culture in Tonga and aid considerably in how we as anthropologists perceive past Polynesian lifeways and development through time.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Burley
George Nicholas
Department: 
Environment:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The Cultural Context of Food Grinding Equipment in Northern Ethiopia: An Ethnoarchaeological Approach

Date created: 
2014-10-31
Abstract: 

Grinding stones have been in use by humans since the African Middle Stone Age and for food processing for at least the past 28,000 years. This study uses data collected and insights gained through ethnoarchaeological interviews and participant observations to document the technological and social interrelationships in the life history of grinding stones in northern Ethiopia. The study took place in northeastern Tigrai, Ethiopia, in a traditional (non-mechanized) rural setting using design theory and the chaîne opératoire approach. Research involved the comparison of gross morphology and contexts of modern and pre-Aksumite (1600 BCE – 1 BCE/CE) archaeological grinding stones which resulted in interpretations of efficiency changes through time. The knowledge gained through ethnoarchaeological interviews and observations when applied to the archaeological record revealed that during pre-Aksumite times, people in this locale were processing both indigenous grains (t’ef and finger millet) as well as imported Near Eastern domesticates.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Catherine D’Andrea
Sarah Walshaw
Department: 
Environment:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A Rocky Road: Chert Characterization at ST 109, Keatley Creek Site, British Columbia

Date created: 
2014-07-17
Abstract: 

Globally, chert is the most common rock material found in archaeological contexts. Its prevalence on the Earth’s surface in Quaternary deposits and relative abundance in archaeological contexts indicate that it was an important resource material for ancient populations and, as such, can provide information about toolstone exploitation in prehistory. The results of this research suggest a local origin for the chert artefacts recovered from ST 109 at the Keatley Creek site (EeRl-7) in the mid-Fraser region of south-central British Columbia, but also to a remote origin for the toolstone deposits found within the study area. Elemental characterization suggests that although the chert deposits in the study area are geographically separate, they are likely derived from a larger parent chert source, redeposited in the mid-Fraser region by glacial activity prior to human occupation of the area. This thesis also demonstrates through the application of the Keatley Creek Lithic Typology that the visible properties of colour and texture are not a reliable means for discerning the provenance of chert artefacts.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
George Nicholas
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Saltfish vs. Parrotfish: the Role of Fish and Mollusks in English Colonial Foodways at Betty’s Hope Plantation, Antigua, West Indies

Date created: 
2014-07-08
Abstract: 

One of the most quintessential components of colonial Caribbean foodways is imported saltfish. However, there has been little historical zooarchaeological research addressing the potential roles and values of fish and mollusks in English colonial foodways, particularly the local species. Betty’s Hope plantation in Antigua, British West Indies, has a substantial collection of historical archives called the Codrington Papers, which provides the basis for understanding the site’s historical daily life. This research employs an analysis of these archives compared to the fish and mollusk remains recovered from the site’s zooarchaeological assemblage, with the intention of understanding the extent to which local fish and mollusk resources were utilized. Despite the emphasis on saltfish in the archives and the almost total absence of references to mollusks, the zooarchaeological assemblage was dominated by local tropical fish taxa rather than imported saltfish. This not only informs on the types of fish consumed on the plantation, but also demonstrates selection preferences and practices between the Great House and the middle-class outbuildings that will contribute to the overall understanding of plantation foodways and daily life in the colonial Caribbean.

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

Community engagement in British Columbia archaeology

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-17
Abstract: 

Archaeologists are increasingly aware that their discipline affects living people, including the descendant communities on whose lands we work and heritage we explore. This trend has created a rise in engaged archaeological practices, including community-based, collaborative, and indigenous archaeologies. This thesis addresses the topic of community engagement by assessing how, to what extent, and to what ends archaeologists and descendant communities are working together in British Columbia. To examine these questions I first describe literature and theory on community engagement within and outside of archaeology, including past attempts to measure or evaluate community engagement. I use this to frame a set of attributes that characterize effective elements of community engagement. I then use these attributes to assess individual British Columbia archaeology projects, through interviews with British Columbia archaeologists and a sample of the British Columbia archaeology reports. My results indicate that British Columbia archaeologists recognize the importance of community engagement and attempt to implement strategies of engagement in their projects. Moreover, my results indicate that meaningful community engagement includes the opportunity for partnership, involvement, and long-lasting relationships.

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

Featuring Wetlands: A Feature Analysis of Wetland Resource Use at DhRp-52, British Columbia

Date created: 
2014-04-22
Abstract: 

This study explores wetland resource use at DhRp-52 to develop a better understanding of the inhabitants’ interactions with their wetland environment. A feature analysis of selected feature contents using multiple sources of evidence (i.e., archaeobotany, charcoal analysis, and zooarchaeology) was employed to (a) taxonomically identify seed, bone, and charcoal as indicators of wetland resource use, and (b) assess feature function in relation to resource use. This provides a means to evaluate the suitability of feature analyses for future use at archaeological sites in the region, particularly in wetland contexts. The results of the feature analysis contribute to a more general discussion of regional hunter-gatherer interactions with wetland ecosystems. While many aspects of human landscapes and resource use in the Northwest Coast have been extensively discussed, wetlands have seldom been considered as a specific environmental zone. This study helps to broaden that discussion by presenting new data on the topic, by demonstrating the utility of a feature analysis-based approach, and highlighting the archaeological and ethnographic importance of regional wetlands and their use.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
George Nicholas
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Human Decomposition and the Factors that Affect it: A Retrospective Study of Death Scenes in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-03-26
Abstract: 

Little is known about human decomposition and the variables which affect it in Canada. This study involves the retrospective analysis of 358 police death investigations from across Canada. Cases with reliable data were selected using the Canadian ViCLAS (Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System) database. A total of 36 environmental, immediate context, intrinsic and geographic variables were examined for each case. A classification system was designed based on biological processes of decomposition and a method developed to assign a relative value to each case (Relative Level of Decomposition Value). There are four components to the study. The first component determined the quantitative and qualitative differences in the progression of baseline decomposition for outdoor surface, buried, indoor and water scenes. The frequency of alternate states of decomposition such as mummification, adipocere formation or moulding was determined for each scene type. The second component determined which variables affected the progression of decomposition by scene type. The PMI (in days) was found to have more predictive value compared to the ADD score. Seven variables (PMI days, precipitation, scavenging, insects, body size, alcohol consumption and blood loss) were found to contribute to 83% of the variability in the decomposition score outside on the surface. Three variables (ADD score, insects and blood loss) indoors and in burials (PMI days, blood loss and clothing) contributed to 50% of the change in decomposition. Two variables (PMI days and submersion) contributed to 54% of the variability in decomposition in water. Insects and scavengers had a limited involvement in all cases regardless of season. The third component of the study found that there were geographical differences in baseline and alternate states of decomposition across Canada. The last component of the study tested existing formulas for PMI estimations using Canadian cases, with negative results. The variability within baseline decomposition, between scene types and geographical locations precludes the estimations of accurate or forensically practical PMI estimations in Canada. The understanding of decomposition could be used to determine the original context of found remains and predict the extent and type of decomposition given a set of known variables, for search and recovery strategies.

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