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

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Human identification following the World Trade Center disaster: assessing management practices for highly fragmented and commingled human remains

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This study is a retrospective analysis of major management decisions, particularly those that involved anthropology, made during the World Trade Center human identification project. The objective is to understand why certain decisions were made and to access how those decisions affected the overall identification project from the perspective of increased efficiency, accuracy, and by increasing the number of identifications. Based on these results and insights, a list of recommendations is provided to help mass fatality managers better incorporate anthropological expertise into disaster victim identification projects. Data used in the study are derived from the complete World Trade Center Human Remains Data Set of 19,970 human remains recovered from Ground Zero and the Staten Island Landfill in combination with qualitative evaluations of management decision made by the author during the World Trade Center identification project from September 11, 2001 through July 2004. Particular emphasis is on subsets of the World Trade Center Human Remains Data Set related to the implementation of anthropological review programs addressing commingled remains and for DNA analysis. Results indicate that the management decision to have anthropologists perform triage in the mortuary, and the decision to implement specific review programs designed to address missed commingling, increased efficiency, accuracy, and identifications. Evidence indicates that lower limb bones from taphonomically compromised remains more reliably yield successful DNA profiles than the arms, trunk, or skull. Further, the patella and metatarsal bones yield at rates comparable to the femur and tibia and should be preferentially sampled for DNA during mass fatality identification projects. This research holds both empirical and theoretical significance. It provides the first empirically based study comparing DNA yields of different skeletal elements from a mass fatality event. It is also the first to use that information to propose disaster victim identification DNA sampling guidelines. Finally, it presents a framework for other mass fatality managers to follow in presenting critical evaluations of major management decision made during a mass fatality disaster victim identification project. These evaluations will increase the overall collective learning and contribute to future recommendations for other mass fatality managers to follow.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
M
Department: 
Dept. of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Archaeology without reserve: Indigenous heritage stewardship in British Columbia

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

Archaeology and the stewardship of cultural heritage are inherently political undertakings. Worldwide, archaeology’s colonial legacy has produced systems of research and management that fail to recognize or serve Indigenous descendant communities’ special rights to and interests in their ancestral heritage. The decolonization of archaeology, and of society, requires a commitment to social engagement and political responsibility that are both professionally and morally just. I investigate the potential for this transformation through the issues of gatekeeping, ethical relativism, control and power imbalances, competing cultural perspectives, and economic inequities. I explore alternative approaches to heritage stewardship taken by British Columbia’s First Nations, and find they encourage a more inclusive and equitable alternative to the dominant heritage management system while protecting and sharing a past that continues to influence contemporary Indigenous life. Indigenous heritage stewardship policies endorse postcolonial methods that challenge the status quo and renew archaeology’s accountability to its various publics.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
G
Department: 
Dept. of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Poverty, chastity and obedience: monastic masculinities in Spanish colonial Riobamba

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

The colonial city of Riobamba was founded in 1534 in what is now Ecuador. The city was a major textile center and provided trade between other cities and missionary settlements throughout the Andes. In 1797, a devastating earthquake hit the region. A large percentage of the population was killed and much of the city was destroyed or covered in silt. Following the disaster, survivors were forced to move 16 kilometers away where they established the modern city of Riobamba. This study examines life and identity in colonial Riobamba prior to this catastrophe. Interdisciplinary methods are employed in an examination of two separate religious orders that resided in Riobamba between the years 1645 and 1797. I carried out this work through archaeological excavation and archival study of historical documents. Over the course of this project, the two monasteries were extensively surveyed and thirteen units were excavated. The following research reveals the close connection between common material culture recovered from within these monasteries and the identities of the men who routinely used these items. Traditional understandings of colonial masculinity describe gendered behaviors as rigidly defined. My research however, demonstrates that gender expectations were somewhat flexible and adapted both to the environment and the immediate needs of the group as a result male gender is expressed as multiple masculinities. This study shows that monastic men occupied a range of gendered roles while maintaining positions of relative power within the community. This multiplicity of identities troubles our current understanding of masculine behaviors and identities within this particular context.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
R
Department: 
Dept. of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

One fish, two fish, old fish, new fish: Investigating differential distribution of salmon resources in the Pacific Northwest through ancient DNA analysis

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

DNA analysis was applied to approximately 60 ancient salmon remains (1200BP) from the archaeological site of Keatley Creek in British Columbia to examine the distribution of Pacific salmon species between housepits. The success rate of DNA extraction was over 90%, yielding three species of Pacific salmon: Chinook, Sockeye and Coho. Accurate salmon species identification using mitochondria1 DNA refined theories of economic stratification and differential access to salmon resources at Keatley Creek. Additionally, the unique information made available by ancient DNA analysis offered insight into prehistoric salmon ecology and spawning behaviour in the region.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Time of change: late pleistocene / early holocene landscape transformation and human presence in southwest coastal British Columbia, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This thesis is designed to increase awareness of the value of late-glacial landforms in the study of early settlement patterns along southwest coastal British Columbia. The study of the interaction between local paleoenvironmental events, such as relative sealevel changes and paraglacial landscape modifications, is critical to an understanding of potential early site locations. A lack of systematic surveys, poor site visibility, deep alluvial burial, and site locations away from modern shorelines have been identified in this thesis as main reasons for the lack of evidence for late Pleistocene human occupational sites. Field research of raised landforms, such as paleo-deltas, provided data on the local paleoenvironmental history during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. A comparison to other research projects along the Pacific Northwest might highlight some new ideas and techniques applicable for the study of late Pleistocene settlement along potentially early corridors of migration.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Medieval legacies: the industrial archaeology of an early sixteenth century sugar mill at Sevilla la Nueva, Jamaica

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

To date, historical and archaeological research has focused only on the late seventeenth- to nineteenth-century French, British, Dutch and Portuguese sugar plantations and their associated slave villages in the Caribbean and Brazil. Attempts by the Spanish to establish sugar estates in the sixteenth century have been largely ignored by archaeologists. Despite its early introduction to the Caribbean in 1494, the sugar industry was not firmly established until 1517 on Hispaniola and Jamaica, and slightly later in Puerto Rico. Within the broader framework of sugar production and its history on a global scale, this study focuses upon the archaeology, analysis and interpretive reconstruction of an early sixteenth-century sugar mill and industrial quarter in the town of Sevilla la Nueva (1509–1534), the first Spanish capital of Jamaica. Archaeological excavations and historical research demonstrate that this was a water-powered mill set within the urban confines of an early colonial administrative and trading centre. Analysis of the unique assemblage of material culture reflects the industrial nature of the site but also provides insight into the cultural and social identities of those who worked there. Finally, the dissertation examines how this enterprise was structured by the economic and social systems of Spain and its Atlantic colonies in the late medieval period while also illustrating a nascent emergence of capitalism by the middle of the sixteenth century.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Exploring 10,000 years of human history on Ebey’s Prairie, Whidbey Island, Washington

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Northwest Coast prairies contain a suite of resources not available in other ecosystems, making them a unique and sought after environment for animals and people. Archaeological research in Northwest Coast prairies is in its infancy but it is clear that an integrated approach, drawing on a number of disciplines, is needed to decipher human use of prairies in the past. I investigate the archaeological, archaeobotanical, and ethnographic record of Ebey’s Prairie, located on central Whidbey Island in Washington State. My findings indicate that people used Ebey’s Prairie throughout prehistory for a variety of activities over a broad time scale (~10,000 to 150 BP). Direct evidence of Camassia—one of the most important native plant foods in the Northwest, is one indication that indigenous people tended and maintained edible and useful plant resources on Ebey’s Prairie for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Similkameen archaeology (1993-2004)

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This thesis provides the first synthesis of Similkameen First Nations prehistory. It is based upon archaeological overview, inventory and impact assessment projects (1993?2004). Three main topics are investigated; 1) construction of a cultural chronology encompassing 200 to 10,000 years of valley prehistory, 2) a critical examination of the Plateau Microblade tradition (PMt) , and 3) a discussion of the problem of determining and/or assigning ethnicity to the archaeological record, specifically with regard to protohistoric and pre?contact Similkameen?Athapaskan and Salish?speaking populations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Ontario Iroquois tradition longhouses

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1982
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Archaeology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Counting sheep: Fauna, contact, and colonialism at Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, A. D. 1300-1900

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This dissertation examines faunal assemblages from the old, ceremonial core of Zuni Pueblo, spanning the period ca. A.D. 1300- 1900, to explore changes in subsistence patterns associated with the introduction of Old World domesticates. Temporal analyses of several major characteristics, including taxonomic frequency distributions, herd management strategies, butchery, and body-part representations indicate patterns consistent with the adoption and incorporation of new foods and technologies, along with a persistence of Zuni traditional practices. Sheep, a major protein and secondary product source in the Iberian subsistence system, became important at Zuni Pueblo as early as Mission times. Although the diet at Zuni appears to be predominantly Spanish (with sheep being most common), aboriginal elements such as the hunting of deer and pronghorn are maintained. This is consistent with ethnographic data on the importance of wild animals in Zuni religious life. The analysis of sheep and goat kill-off patterns indicates that animals were mainly slaughtered at a young age, which correlates well with an emphasis on obtaining meat from flocks, but also with wool production. It is argued that this pattern might reflect the deposition of animals slaughtered for communal ritual activities in later historic times and not the general economic orientation at Zuni Pueblo. Butchery and body-part distributions indicate that animals were brought to and slaughtered in this area of the site and that the Middle Village more likely reflects a household, unspecialized, traditional butchery practice, with the Spanish influence being mostly reflected in the adoption of metal tools. In conclusion, it is suggested that the Zuni incorporated European additions and modified previous domestic subsistence strategies, while still maintaining and perpetuating aspects of their traditional practices. The changes that took place at Zuni Pueblo after the Spanish entrada reflect the adoption of new dietary practices, but also an adjustment to strategies that emphasize local economic and ritual customs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)