Archaeology, Department of

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FORDISC and the determination of ancestry from craniometric data

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

FORDISC is a computer program designed to determine ancestry from human skeletal remains. It is widely used, yet its accuracy has been challenged. In this study, 200 specimens from one of FORDISC's reference samples are used to investigate four issues that are central to debate: (1) the inclusion of the source population in the reference sample, (2) the influence of sex, (3) the impact of variable number, and (4) the effect of different anatomical regions. The results indicate that the source population must be present and the sex of the specimen known before FORDISC can provide an accurate determination of ancestry. Additionally, a determination will be successful only if more than 10 measurements pertaining to multiple anatomical regions are used. Even when these conditions are met, few determinations may be considered unambiguously correct. Overall, FORDISC performed below expectations and the results suggest that the program should be used cautiously.

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

Structure and regional diversity of the Meadowood Interaction Sphere

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

In northeastern North America, elaboration of mortuary ceremonialism and the widespread distribution of Onondaga chert bifaces during the Early Woodland period (3,000-2,400 BP) have been attributed to the development of the Meadowood Interaction Sphere. The mechanisms underlying the flow of goods and ideas, the structure of the network, and the incentives of the participating groups, however, remain poorly understood. This study aims at discriminating between ritual, economic, and socio-political interpretations of the Meadowood Interaction Sphere through a pan-regional survey of its manifestations. The ritual model defines Meadowood as a “Burial Cult” and ascribes the sharing of traits to the diffusion of religious ideas and cult items. According to the economic model, alliances between groups are based on economic reciprocity and serve to increase the stability of local subsistence systems. The socio-political model involves successful traders increasing their status through their ability to obtain prestige items. To evaluate these scenarios, this research examines Meadowood material manifestations, their contexts of use, the spatial distribution of sites and artefacts, as well as subsistence strategies and social organization. The role of Meadowood trade goods as prestige items is supported by their fine craftsmanship and their occurrence in both residential and mortuary/gathering contexts. Meadowood manifestations concentrate in resource-rich areas, where communities have the greatest potential to produce surpluses and develop socioeconomic inequalities. Moreover, this study demonstrates an increasing dependence on abundant and predictable resources. Also significant is the recognition of distinct regional networks, where Meadowood groups are strategically located to act as “middlemen” between Atlantic and Midwestern communities. Finally, the presence of burial precincts distinct from habitation sites, variability in mortuary treatments and grave good distributions, and evidence of funerary feasts reflect social inequalities, ownership, and competitive displays of success. The data presented in this study converge on socio-political forces being the major underlying factors for the establishment of Early Woodland interregional networks in northeastern North America. The development of socioeconomic inequalities and an attempt by individuals or corporate groups to enhance their status through privileged access to rare goods were central in maintaining the contacts that constitute the essence of the Meadowood Interaction Sphere.

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

Analysis and interpretation of the fauna from the Bluff Great House

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This thesis describes the analysis and interpretation of the animal remains from the Bluff Great House, a Chacoan outlier in southeastern Utah. Faunal resources utilised at the Bluff Great House are generally analogous to those from other sites in the region. The temporal changes in the Bluff assemblage show a decrease in the percentage of artiodactyls and an increase in the percentage o f turkeys, a pattern which is paralleled at other sites from the same time period. This pattern may have been influenced by a form of resource depression and shaped by the domestication of the turkey. A comparison of regional assemblages revealed that the material from Great Houses and unit pueblos were similar. All pathological conditions present in the faunal material from Bluff were briefly reviewed and discussed. Some of the pathological specimens resemble pathologies from other Chacoan sites in the Northern San Juan region.

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

Ceramicists at the Convencion del 45 Neighbourhood : Contemporary Ecuadorian Artisans and Their Material Culture

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2003
Abstract: 

Ceramicists at the Convencion del45 neighbourhood have dealt with many economic and social changes over the course of the 20th century. At the beginning of the last century ceramicists continued the colonial practice of producing utilitarian vessels which met the needs of local and regional markets. Production was focused within the family and provided a dependable source of income. However, after World War II global changes, including mass production and globalization, had a profound affect on ceramicists as their products had to compete with imported plastic and metal items. As a result ceramicists made innovations in their design styles and found new avenues in which to sell their products. This thesis uses a holistic approach to interpret the material culture produced by one small artisanal community in Cuenca, Ecuador. Through an examination of documentary research, oral history interviews, archaeological excavation of a kiln, and material culture research from the Convencion del45 neighbourhood I illustrate that ceramicists have, and continue to be, active participants in their society. Rather than emphasize the negative affects of imported goods and mass production on ceramicists, I demonstrate that as agents, they are reflexive participants in their community and have etched a place for themselves and their particular brand of production; their material culture is used to complement their own testimony regarding the socio-economic changes that orbit their neighbourhood and nation.

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

Middle period hunter-gatherers of the Thompson River drainage, British Columbia : a critical review

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2004
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Archaeology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Investigations into the ethnographic and prehistoric importance of freshwater molluscs on the Interior Plateau of British Columbia

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Archaeology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Exhuming conflict : some recommendations for the creation of a series of experimental mass grave and mass grave-related test sites

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Archaeology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Transience in Dawson City, Yukon, during the Klondike gold rush

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Archaeology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Modelling Nuu-chah-nulth land use : the cultural landscape of Clayoquot Sound

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Archaeology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Plant delta 15N: A new archaeological tool

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This empirical study was undertaken to test the unlikely postulate that past human activity has left an imprint on the stable nitrogen isotopic ratio of the plants currently growing on archaeological sites. In each of three summers, plants were taken from a variety of defined features at Norse and Thule sites in southwest Greenland. The data obtained clearly establish the effect of past human activity on the 15N of modern plants. Despite the sites being in widely separated regions and of varying ages, the plants from each had si gnificantly higher 15N values than those growing on the surrounding natural terrain. The unusual values were directly correlated to defined activity areas and the isotopic effect was measured at the metre scale. The magnitudes of the values observed within each context were consistent with the expected delta 15N of the various nitrogen sources deposited at these locales in the past, indicating the very strong conservation of the isotopic composition of the anthropogenically introduced nitrogen. These observations show that plant delta 15N can be used as a new, non-invasive tool to identify and delineate ancient human activity, and to some extent to characterize that activity based on the magnitude of the signature. Whereas more study is needed to fully realize both the potential and the limitations of the tool, the data obtained provide a basic framework for future application. The usefulness of the tool is already demonstrated by the important information obtained for Norse farming practices in Greenland. Continued study of t he phenomenon will likely provide many applications in archaeology and perhaps will be of interest to other disciplines.

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