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Beyond the Marsh: Settlement Choice, Perception, and Spatial Decision-Making on the Georgia Coastal Plain download pdf

By Thomas G. Whitley, Inna Moore, Gitisha Goel, and Damon Jackson

2010 In, "CAA 2009: Making History Interactive", Bernard Frischer, Jane Webb Crawford, and David Koller (editors), Archaeopress, Oxford, pp380-390

When we consider the intrinsic value of land units (or cells) in an archaeological analysis of landscape, settlement choice, or site selection, we tend to develop models which use static, unchanging costs or benefits, or which rely on least common denominators for a wide range of human actions or time frames. This is naturally driven by the tendency to find correlative evaluations as the most comforting means of both hypothesis building and hypothesis testing. Correlative approaches used in such applications as inductive predictive models are inherently reductionist and typically global-inferential. In actual application though, cell-based attractors are dynamic and distinctly contextual. Thus, we need to develop models that provide an egocentric, rather than a global, frame of reference, and are explanatory rather than merely correlative.

The first steps in this direction are provided by agent-based models; however, most agent-based models still utilize fixed frames of reference, or tools that rely on universal knowledge and global decision-making. Likewise, the acceptance of large dataset correlation testing, or training sets, as the primary means for assessing model success (even in agent-based models or neural network applications) precludes approaches that deal in sequential actions, local behaviors, or unique site types. Here we develop a model that uses cell-based analysis in several ways: First, attractor values are derivative of perception; the interface of knowledge and confidence in that knowledge. Second, spatial decision-making is temporally sequential; thus proximity tempers attractor values. And third, the scale of decision-making distinctly relies on both immediate and long-range planning and returns. These concepts will be illustrated with data from the Coastal Plain of Georgia (USA) and placed in the context of adaptations to a seemingly homogenous cultural and ecological landscape.


Re-thinking Accuracy and Precision in Predictive Modeling download pdf

By Thomas G. Whitley

2010 In, "Beyond the Artifact: Digital Interpretation of the Past", Franco Niccolucci and Sorin Hermon (editors), Archaeolingua, Budapest, Hungary, pp312-318.

Testing archaeological predictive models has almost always relied upon evaluating the percentage of sites "captured" versus the percentage of area defined as "high" potential. This is known as the "gain" statistic. Fundamentally inherent in correlative models and the gain statistic, though, is the assumption that measuring the deviation from randomness is the best method to evaluate the accuracy and precision of a model. This paper will show, in contrast, that the locations of archaeological sites are always dependent upon the location of the previous instance of settlement and therefore can act only like time-series dependent phenomena, never like random points. This calls for a fundamentally different means of testing models which can account for spatial autocorrelation.


On the Frontier: Looking at Boundaries, Territoriality, and Social Distance with GIS download pdf

By Thomas G. Whitley

2010 In, "Beyond the Artifact: Digital Interpretation of the Past", Franco Niccolucci and Sorin Hermon (editors), Archaeolingua, Budapest, Hungary, pp41-48.

Archaeological spatial analysis is a typically normative process. We tend to focus on the centralized locations of "things" such as sites or artifacts at the expense of identifying and evaluating "buffer zones" or boundaries. But how do we measure interactions between neighbors? Are there ways in which we can evaluate, understand and explain the creation and implementation of buffers, boundaries, territories, and trade routes? This paper will address means of extracting objective measures of "social distance" and relating them to the landscape in general. The perspective will be from an "immersive" point of view and one in which cognitive decision-making is emphasized. Several examples will be presented to illustrate the concepts.


Post-Katrina Archaeology: Discovering the Gulf Coast's Underrepresented Heritage download pdf

By Steve RabbySmith and Erin Kane

2010 Annual Conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology

As a result of the long recovery effort following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, an unprecedented number of CRM undertakings have occurred along the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. While the circumstances providing the impetus for these projects are lamentable they have shed light on locations and resources that have been under-represented in past preservation efforts. Recent projects conducted by Brockington and Associates in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Kiln, Mississippi, identified a number resources unique to each municipality's community, culture, and sense of space. This paper describes these properties and discusses issues concerned with the significance of the everyday and commonplace.


The San Pedro Mission Village on Cumberland Island, Georgia download pdf

By Carolyn Rock

2010 Journal of Global Initiatives: Policy, Pedagogy, Perspective: Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 7.

The San Pedro de Mocama mission, located on Cumberland Island, Georgia, was the principal Spanish mission of the Mocama-speaking Timucua Indians from 1587 to the early 1660s. This paper describes some of the results of archaeological fieldwork and research (Rock 2006) completed at the mission village site, technically known as the Dungeness Wharf site (9CM14). Figure 1 presents the location of the site. Archaeologically, most mission studies have focused on the missions themselves, particularly on their churches, conventos, and kitchens. At the San Pedro mission village site, however, the church complex has not been located, and may have been lost to erosion. Therefore, in the course of excavations at the site, our only recourse was to examine materials from the aboriginal village associated with the mission. Our project thus can serendipitously be considered a reminder of the importance of investigating village areas at mission sites. Because our ceramic analysis is tied in with historical events, including interactions between the Spanish, Timucua Indians, and later the Guale and Yamassee Indians, a brief history of the San Pedro mission is presented first, followed by a summary of the archaeological investigations and how the archaeology may fit in with the mission's history.


Georgia's Historic County Courthouses: Anchors in a Sea of Change. download pdf

By Benjamin A. Roberts

2010 Masters Thesis, University of Georgia

This thesis explores the reasons that some counties in Georgia choose to preserve their courthouses and some do not. Of the 159 counties in Georgia, 102 counties still have their historic courthouses in use as a courthouse, 37 counties have built a new courthouse/government center, but retain their courthouse for non-judicial activities, and 20 counties lost their courthouses to fire or demolished them. The status of all 159 courthouses is reviewed, and an overview of their current state is provided. Review of preservation efforts provides an understanding of the challenges facing these buildings. Lessons learned from both Georgia and the national experience regarding preservation efforts and historic county courthouses are developed. The thesis provides a basis for current and future efforts for courthouse preservation in Georgia by summarizing the best practices learned from multiple examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly.


A Case Study in Cultural Heritage Protection in a Time of War download pdf

By Benjamin A. Roberts

2010 International Conference on Archaeology in Conflict Vienna, Austria

This presentation provides a first person summary of United States Army activities during Task Force Iron Gimlet (TFIG) formed in December, 2008 to encourage community improvement efforts in the Abu Ghraib and Nassar Wa Salaam communities and surrounding areas west of Baghdad, Iraq. TFIG was intended to empower Iraqis to conduct many of the community development projects themselves, with funding largely provided through Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) initiatives at the Battalion and below levels. Included in the projects TFIG conducted was a contract for improving the tourism infrastructure around the historic Ziggurat at Aqar Quf. Lessons learned from this intervention are reported in this presentation.

Stability and Support Operations (SOSO) and Civil-Military Operations (CMO) call for complex strategies for both cultural heritage preservation practices and economic development activities. The U.S. Army's CERP is one such program and was developed in Iraq in 2003 to allow rapid response to localized problems at the lowest level possible. CERP is successful because it provides opportunities for the local populace to obtain steady employment while at the same time encouraging shared cultural heritage identity through the protection of cultural heritage sites in a classic win-win scenario.


"...not even the remains of the dead were held sacred by this rapacious banditti!!!" - The 1814 Raid of the US Privateer Midas on Royal Island, The Bahamas download pdf

By Eric Poplin

2009 Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada

Royal Island, The Bahamas, suffered an attack on private property on 12 September 1814 by crewmen of the American privateer Midas. This raid destroyed all but one building, with the remaining buildings and facilities associated with four plantation settlements all burned. The residents' personal goods and wealth were taken, with most residents fleeing to the bush to save themselves from injury. Even the tomb of the wife of Benjamin Barnett, principal planter on Royal Island, was broken open in search of plunder. Reputedly in retaliation for the burning of Washington, this act prompted a public apology from James Monroe, US Secretary of State, and the revocation of the Midas letter of marquee. Recent archaeological investigations at EL 53 within the Barnett settlement revealed artifacts that appear to be directly related to this raid as well as evidence of the loss and reconstruction of the plantation settlement.


The Archaeology of Indian Slavers and Colonial Allies: Excavations at the Yamasee Capital of Altamaha Town download pdf

By Alex Sweeney

2009 Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada

The Yamasee Indians, a multiethnic conglomeration of Native Americans, lived along the lower coastal plain of South Carolina between 1683 and 1715. Altamaha Town, the capital of the Lower Yamasee Indians, was likely occupied as early as 1695 and abandoned shortly after the start of the Yamasee War in 1715. Archival documentation and maps have provided researchers information regarding Yamasee ethnohistoric origins, political structure, relations with English traders, and archaeological site locations. Recent excavations at Altamaha Town recovered more than 60,000 artifacts and identified numerous cultural features associated with several structures. Information derived from historical documentation, along with the data from the excavations at Altamaha Town, have allowed a more concrete perspective into the lifeways of this historic group of indigenous people. This paper summarizes the field investigations and the ongoing research of the data collected, and provides initial interpretations from the Altamaha Town excavations.


Analysis of Daub from Mound V, Moundville: Its Role as an Architectural Indicator download pdf

By Jeff Sherard

2009 Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 27:29-42

Analysis of fired daub, a construction material of tempered clay commonly associated with the walls and ceilings of Mississippian buildings, has the potential to reveal otherwise unknowable architectural details. For Mound V at the Moundville site, daub rubble was classified by type of surface finish, thickness, and interior impression. Quantitative differences were found among areas of daub fall corresponding to different architectural components. The main wall of Structure 1, an earth lodge, was built up around horizontal lathing of whole cane tied to wall posts, often bundled. Impressions against flattened wooden splints were also found. This wall was hand-smoothed and painted in red and white. The daubed interior ceiling of the same structure, in contrast, was unpainted with the daub applied against a coarse fabric of split cane bound with whole cane stringers. Daub from an adjacent building, Structure 2, had a gritty clay plaster finish and was set against a combination of split cane fabric and whole cane lathing. These modes of construction differ from previously reported Mississippian architectural remains, and highlight the potential role of the spatial analysis of daub in understanding the variability in this architecture.


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