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

Receive updates for this collection

An analysis of the Levallois reduction strategy using a design theory framework

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

The Levallois reduction strategy was selected from among a number of different lithic strategies available in the Middle Palaeolithic and was employed over a wide geographic area of the Old World for well over 200,000 years. This research attempts to examine the potential advantages of this reduction strategy that led to this long history of use. This requires the development of a model of Middle Palaeolithic lifeways from which can be identified those factors that would have influenced and constrained the design of Middle Palaeolithic stone technology and tool kits. From an understanding of these constraints on stone tool production and use, several hypotheses are developed which would explain the advantages that Levallois reduction would present and under what conditions we would expect it to be employed. These hypotheses are then tested through the analysis of both the morphology of the products of different reduction strategies and of tool blank selection patterns at four Middle Palaeolithic sites in SW and SE France. This analysis indicates that Levallois reduction would present notable advantages under conditions of restricted access to raw material, which may be due to circumstances of increased group mobility or distance from raw material sources. Some functional advantages may also rest in the morphology of certain Levallois products and in the products of similar reduction approaches. It is also apparent that classic Levallois reduction cannot be defined in isolation from other single-surface core strategies, and that much of the advantage of classic Levallois reduction is inherent in all such strategies.

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

The distribution and use of cattle products in Northern Highland Ethiopia

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This study is an ethnoarchaeological investigation of the distribution and use of cattle and animal products in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. Ethnoarchaeological methods are utilized to explore many aspects of the role of cattle in highland Ethiopian society at four villages in the Tigrayan administrative region of Gulo-Makeda, in an attempt to provide models to aid the interpretation of the archaeological record in that area. Structured interviews are used to address questions of the ways in which cattle are acquired, exchanged and used in daily agricultural life, the occasion and frequency with which meat is consumed, the manner of slaughter and discard practices. The examination of spatial patterning and site-formation processes associated with the use of cattle is addressed by the observation of two butchering events, as well as a survey of discarded animal bone throughout the village of Mena Beyti.

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

The relationship between the Later Stone Age and Iron Age cultures of Central Tanzania

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Many archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists and historians have postulated that the spread of Lron Age (IA) Bantu speaking cultures south of the Sahara was associated with the displacement or absorption of Later Stone Age (LSA) autochthonous populations. The 1A Bantu speaking cultures are suggested to have practiced agropastoralism and metal-working while LSA groups were hunter-gatherers. Recently however some scholars have raised questions about the general applicability of the displacement/absorption models to explain cultural developments in sub-Saharan Africa. It is on this basis that archaeological investigation was launched in the Pahi division of Kondoa district in central Tanzania where interaction between LSA and IA cultures took place. The Pahi research had three main goals, namely to establish the Pahi LSA and IA cultural sequences, to investigate social and economic interaction between the LSA and IA and to ascertain the role of LSA people in the later development of settled societies in central Tanzania. The research involved extensive systematic land walkover and shovel test pits (STPs) survey followed by intensive trench excavation of recovered sites. The sequence of archaeological remains from the Pahi STP survey strongly supported those of trench excavations. Results from both STPs and trench excavations indicated that lower Pahi stratigraphic sequences consisted of exclusively LSA cultural materials while upper levels consisted of both LSA and IA artifacts. The Pahi LSA cultures dated to 2500 +40 BP and probably survived until 1030 + 40 BP when IA cultures became incorporated into the LSA. Despite the early adoption of IA (from IA agropastoralists) by the local LSA populations, lithic production continued to be practiced along with iron-working until recent times when the former was abandoned. The widespread and continuous distribution of lithic and iron-working remains over the Pahi landscape and the entire upper Pahi stratigraphical sequence suggests that LSA peoples were not replaced by IA agropastoralists after the adoption of IA cultures circa 1030 ? 40 BP. Instead, they incorporated IA cultural elements into their LSA culture. These findings call into question earlier assumptions, generally applied to sub-Saharan Africa, that LSA peoples were replaced or absorbed by IA agropastoralists.

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

The control of social space in Mennonite housebarns of Manitoba, 1874-1940

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Mennonite migrants coming to southern Manitoba from south Russia in the 1870s and afterwards brought with them a unique settlement pattern and architectural heritage that included open prairie street villages and the construction of housebarns. Mennonite households were treated in this study as a form of ethnic architecture encompassing social and economic concepts of individual and public values. The structural and habitation histories of twenty-six dwellings were documented and analyzed. Oral interviews with former inhabitants were conducted to provide historical, social and personal context. This research was informed by Pierre Bourdieu's theory of practice and the concept of habitus. a set of durable dispositions carried by an individual throughout their lifetime. Habitus is structured by daily practice, including the activities and relationships found in household settings. Mennonite households in this study were examined to determine the degree to which they were products and producers of habitus, and how this changed over time. Dwellings were also examined as products of status display strategies, and exteriors and orientations of houses were compared to previous studies of Mennonite architecture. Mennonite habitus was structured according to strict age and gender categories that were physically symbolized in furnishings, decoration, and activity areas found in Mennonite dwellings. Over time, as many villages dissolved and an ethic of individualism was incorporated into Mennonite society, these categories weakened. It was determined that variations of the Flurkuechenhaus design concept used by Mennonites were related to financial and social status differences within an orthopraxic village setting. When villages dissolved due to the relatively open nature of land acquisition in Manitoba, Mennonite homes reflected and inculcated the increasing independence and individuality of the household economic unit. In the villages that remained. extant housebarns were modified in both interior and exterior design to accommodate changing ' concepts of family, economy, and status. Over time these structures were transformed to accommodate both ethnic Mennonite and mainstream Canadian stylistic elements and spatial use.

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

Forgotten waters: A zooarchaeological analysis of the Cove Cliff site (DhRr 18), Indian Arm, British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

The Gulf of Georgia is among the most comprehensively studied regions on the Northwest Coast. However, few archaeological studies focus on Late Phase sites (1 200 B.P.-250 B.P.) especially those in inlets; examinations of intra-site activity areas are also rare. I analyse the archaeofauna from Late Phase deposits inside and outside a small structure at the Cove Cliff site, Indian Arm, British Columbia. Those results are compared to published results from two other inlet sites and a site on the Fraser River Delta to explore how the inlet environment was utilised. I also test for intra-site spatial patterns that may signify activity areas. My findings suggest people took full advantage of their local environment but also had socio-economic relations with distant groups to procure certain resources. The spatial analyses identify three activity areas. These results begin to address some gaps in our understanding of Late Phase Gulf of Georgia prehistory.

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

Heiltsuk stone fish traps: Products of my ancestors' labour

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This thesis presents the results of systematic research on Heiltsuk stone fish traps, which are poorly understood in academia. My research objective is unique in that I de-emphasize empirical data such as length, width, and height in favour of the view that these stone fish trap are products of my ancestors’ labour. My main goal was to work with the Heiltsuk political and cultural entities and 12 Heiltsuk oral historians to employ an Internalist archaeology investigation of a selective fishery system that began in antiquity. I linked oral history to ethnographic narratives about this ancient fishing technology. Using a novel method of videography, I captured 42 trap sites on video in order to become familiar with their locations, variations and their correlations of salmon to streams and rivers where a stone fish trap is found. I returned in August 2005 to map nine of them, especially the ones familiar to Heiltsuk oral historians.

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

The megalithic tradition of West Sumba, Indonesia: an ethnoarchaeological investigation of megalith construction

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Megaliths have figured prominently in discussions of sociopolitical complexity and ideological systems in prehistoric societies, leading to a very wide range of interpretations concerning their significance. What has limited these discussions is the paucity of ethnoarchaeological studies of the living processes associated with megalith building. In this dissertation, I present an ethnoarchaeological examination of the continued traditional practice of erecting megalithic tombs in West Sumba, Indonesia. The construction of megalithic tombs has occurred for hundreds of years on the island of Sumba. The persistence of this practice to the present day, particularly in West Sumba, makes Sumba an incredibly unique context in which to examine megalith building and its larger social context from an ethnoarchaeological perspective. This ethnoarchaeological analysis of megalith construction in West Sumba approaches the subject from a political ecological perspective guided by the following primary objectives: 1) to examine the social aspects of megalithic tomb building in West Sumba in order to determine whether there are sociopolitical and economic advantages associated with the practice; 2) to investigate the household material signatures of megalith building; and 3) to develop a model for the sociopolitical processes that surround megalith building which can be applied to prehistoric contexts. Ethnoarchaeological data on megalith building and its social significance in West Sumba was collected in interviews and household material culture inventories. Analysis of this data indicates that megalith erection provides a visual representation of individual and group power and is enmeshed in a larger feasting economy through which power is achieved and relations are defined. From this analysis and a review of ethnographic accounts of megalithic cultures in other areas, I have developed a model which links megalith building to the power of individuals and groups in contexts of corporately controlled resources, relational power, competition over key resources, and the importance of group sociopolitical power.

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

Gold rush entrepôt: The maritime archaeology of the rise of the Port of San Francisco

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

The California Gold Rush of 1848-1 852 transformed San Francisco into a major city. This rapid rise, often attributed by historians to the accident of the gold discovery, is more a result of centuries-long processes of integration of the Pacific into the European world system. Integration of the Pacific occurred through maritime exploration, trade and commerce. By the mid-nineteenth century, California and its gold was another commodity in the longue duree of Pacific integration. Ships responding to the gold discovery brought mass-produced industrialized goods as well as commodities to support the growing city and its surrounding region. The role of shipping underscores how San Francisco's rise reflects the role of entrepbts, or zones of free exchange, as a model for integration, and as a new way of assessing a 'frontier'. San Francisco is not only an American settlement on the Pacific Coast of North America, but also a globally-linked port on the edge of the Pacific Rim. This dissertation assesses the rise of San Francisco and the role of a maritime system as an agent of the world system through historical archaeological examination of the buried Gold Rush waterfront of the city. A 9-square block area, partially burned and covered by landfill, includes well-preserved sites including partly burned fallen buildings and buried ships filled with cargo. These demonstrate how the rapidly constructed Gold Rush waterfront of moored ships, piers and buildings are macro-artifacts reflecting economic, social and political agendas in Gold Rush San Francisco. The waterfront provided the means for an ostensible mining settlement to survive the pattern of 'boom or bust', and to become a critical entrep6t for United States interests in and ultimate command of Pacific and Asian trade. Analysis of these sites through a study of archival evidence, recovered artifacts and buried features interprets the maritime cultural landscape of the Gold Rush waterfront. While the Pacific by 1850 falls beyond the range of Wallerstein's original thesis for a World System, San Francisco's rapid rise is part of a frontier process linked to a 'maritime system' that in itself can be incorporated within world systems theory.

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

Faunal analysis and meat procurement: Reconstructing the sexual division of labor at Shields Pueblo, Colorado

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This study investigates the sexual division of meat procurement at Shields Pueblo, a large aggregated village in the Northern San Juan region of Colorado, occupied from ca. A.D. 725-1280. This is primarily achieved through analysis of faunal remains in reference to the environmental, economic, and social factors affecting the inhabitants of this region from Pueblo I (ca. A.D. 725- 900) until regional depopulation ca. A.D. 1280. This dissertation supports previous research in the Northern San Juan region regarding changes to the faunal pattern over time. It is noted that the Shields Pueblo faunal assemblage is characterized by a decline in artiodactyl frequencies and an intensification in utilization of lagomorphs and domestic turkeys, starting ca. A.D. 1060. A gendered analysis, using cross-cultural as well as Southwestern ethnographic data, indicates an interesting pattern in the control/care/production of domestic animals. Specifically, small household domesticates appear to be the responsibility of the female head of household. Archaeological evidence of women’s production of domestic meat resources is investigated for Shields Pueblo. It is argued here that as environmental and social factors changed and large game hunting declined, household-based economies became more important. As these conditions changed, making large-scale game hunting increasingly risky, women came to supply much of the community’s meat (the majority in many communities). In conclusion it is suggested that as environmental conditions declined and the threat of warfare and violence increased, there was a shift in the organization of labor in regards to meat procurement. While large game was plentiful/accessible, men were the primary suppliers of meat for the community. As domesticated meat resources began to dominate the pueblo economy, women’s control of domestic turkeys allowed them to attain more prestige –and thus power-- within the household and larger community. Keywords: Pueblo Indians—Antiquities Animal Remains (Archaeology) Archaeology—Theory—Gender Social Archaeology Shields Pueblo (Colorado)

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

An archaeobotanical investigation of Shields Pueblo's (5MT3807) Pueblo II Period

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This research is a palaeoethnobotanical study of human-plant interactions at Shields Pueblo (5MT3807), a large multi-component site located in the central Mesa Verde region. The research explores past plant use during the Pueblo I1 period (A.D. 900 - 1150). Archaeobotanical remains were used to identify plants collected and utilised by the Pueblo's inhabitants and to determine if the composition of the assemblage varied temporally and spatially. Shields Pueblo's archaeobotanical assemblage showed that the inhabitants grew crops and collected wild plants from a variety of plant communities. The occurrence of climatic shifts, varying growing season length, and population expansion in the Pueblo I1 period may be reflected in a broadening of plants collected by the inhalbitants through time. Evaluation of the 'species area curve' sub-sampling technique determined it to be an adequate method for characterising what taxa are present in (an archaeobotanical assemblage; however guidelines for the application of this method were identified.

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