Graduate Theses & Dissertations


Isotopes of the Caribbean
This research represents the first stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human bone collagen (n = 29) from the Escape Site (AD 300 - 1000), Saint Vincent. As a two-pronged investigation, this research had the following goals: (1) determining the ideal pretreatment for poorly preserved bones and (2) reconstructing the Escape Site sample population diet. By incorporating powdered specimens, shorter demineralizations and increased acid:sample exposure, higher collagen yields were produced, thereby expanding the sample size for isotopic analysis. Notably, the elemental data suggests that not all isolated collagen was biogenic and was perhaps contaminated by non-collagenous proteins. This highlighted the importance of using multiple criteria to rigorously evaluate collagen based on the full quality indicator profile. In the end, 5 individuals yielded useable isotope data which was consistent with a broad spectrum diet relying primarily on C3 plants as well as terrestrial, reef, nearshore and freshwater fauna. Within the broad region, the Escape Site data was comparable to other islands from the Lesser Antilles and Cuba emphasizing the influence of regional biodiversity as well as the likelihood that the studied population contributed and benefitted from the extensive Saladoid trade networks which existed at the time. Author Keywords: Caribbean, Collagen, Escape Site, Human diet, Saladoid, Stable isotope analysis
Food Practices in Transition
The onset of the Natufian sees the unfolding of a lasting dietary shift: the transition from foraging to farming. To understand this transition, we have to identify the exploited plants and explain why they were chosen. To that end, I used use-wear and residue analysis to isolate wear patterns distinctive of specific plants. I conducted a series of six grinding experiments on wheat, barley, fenugreek, lentils, roasted wheat, and rinsed/soaked fenugreek. I then examined the tools under multiple levels of magnification using established protocols and descriptive criteria. To ensure that my descriptive criteria are reproducible, a blind test was performed. The experimental data are then compared to previous studies and residue analysis on the tools used to process wheat and lentils was performed. My results have expanded the experimental database and support the idea that there are distinctions between cereals and legumes and differences between types of cereals and legumes. Author Keywords: Blind test, Cereals, Groundstone tools, Legumes, Starch analysis, Use-wear analysis
Functional Variation within Middle Paleolithic Ground Stone Tools
In the southern Levant, ground stone tools (GST) provide insight into early plant food exploitation, butchery, and cognition. Outside of these examples, GST evidence is scarce, particularly for the Middle Paleolithic. An extensive assemblage of GST recovered from Nesher Ramla, an open-air hunting camp in Israel, presents the unique opportunity to study the role of GST within Middle Paleolithic behaviour. Use-wear and residue analysis, together with replication experiments are employed to investigate GST function within a specific period of site use by focusing on GST from the Upper Sequence (Units I-II) which reflects a trend of decreasing site-use intensity. The results indicate that GST were employed for bone breaking and knapping during the final phases of occupation while comparison with Unit V suggests longer occupations involved more diverse and extensive use of GST. GST at open-air sites are also proposed to represent a strategy for intensive exploitation of location-specific resources. Author Keywords: Ground Stone Tools, Hammerstones, Middle Paleolithic, Residue Analysis, southern Levant, Use-Wear Analysis
Use and Utilization of Loose and Commingled Human Dental Remains in Investigations of Ancient Human Populations
Commingled teeth present a unique opportunity for a novel application of standard methodological approaches commonly utilized in dental anthropological studies. Unfortunately, little research has been conducted on loose or commingled dental assemblages to determine if they are suitable samples for reconstructing bioarchaeological narratives of ancient human populations. The lack of research on commingled dental samples is surprising, given that teeth are highly resistant to post-depositional deterioration and are often some of the only remains left in high deteriorated burials. An experimental analysis of a commingled dental assemblage recovered from four chultuns at Ka'kabish, Belize, was conducted to address this lack of research and provide a real-world example of the potential use and utilization of commingled dental assemblages in investigations of ancient human populations. Author Keywords: Anthropology, Belize, Commingled, Dental, Maya, Methods
Beyond Beads
Burials at the Early Bronze Age IA (c. 3700-3400) cemetery of Fifa, Jordan included a variety of grave goods including beads. These were made of glazed steatite or carnelian. This thesis utilizes use-wear analysis, SEM-EDS, XRD, and a database of 5th and 4th millennium BCE beads in order to build life-histories for Fifa’s beads. Beyond focusing on how the beads were manufactured, where they were produced, how they travelled to the Fifa cemetery, and how they were used at the cemetery, the symbolic and contextual meanings of both types of beads are also explored. I argue that Fifa’s glazed steatite beads were manufactured in Upper Egypt while its carnelian beads were produced in Northwest Arabia. Their exchange facilitated economic and social connections. Both types of beads were likely used for their protective qualities with glazed steatite also potentially assisting in the successful reincarnation of deceased subadults. Author Keywords: Beads, Carnelian, Glazed Steatite, Levantine Archaeology, Mortuary Archaeology, Use-wear Analysis
Morphometric and Decorative Variability in Complete and Near-Complete Middle and Late Woodland Vessels from the Frontenac Axis
This thesis examines morphometric variability and decorative variability and complexityat the intervessel and intravessel levels in samples of complete and near-complete Middle and Late Woodland vessels. The purpose of this study is to determine how a better understanding of variability in Middle and LateWoodland period pottery can help interpret fragmentary assemblages and supplement minimum number of vessels estimates (MNV) and estimated vessel equivalents (EVE): two common methods of pottery quantification. This study also permitted the full characterization of the Charleston Lake and South Lake vessels with associated photographs. The results of this study indicate that sherd thickness and design can be used to confidently assign vessel fragments to single vessels, thereby improving minimum number of vessels estimates, and the process of measuring brokenness and completeness for estimated vessel equivalents. Three sherd thickness conversion indexes provide archaeologists with a way to relate non-diagnostic and non-fitting sherds to their original vessels by the measure of sherds in relation to rims or paired portions (eg. Rim and neck, neck and shoulder, body and shoulder, and body and base). With the use of the sherd thickness conversion indexes, an efficient method of MNV estimation is proposed. Author Keywords: estimated vessel equivalents, minimum number of vessels, morphometry, pottery quantification, variability, Woodland Period ceramics
Statistical Analysis of the Hidden Patterns Found in the Burial Customs of MM/MH III – LM/LH IIIA1 Mainland Greece and Knossos
This study explores different ways of interpreting mainland and Knossian burial customs and assessing the manner in which they were used to explore themes of political and social status. In order to complete this study, correspondence analysis was applied to 98 tombs from Bronze Age (1700-1360 BCE) Knossos, Pylos, and Mycenae. Through the use of CA 14 hidden clusters and two hypotheses were generated and then analyzed in order to answer the following three research questions: can traditional explanations for the changes seen in Final Palatial Knossian burial customs be challenged; does the nature of Final Palatial burial customs support the theory of a mainland invasion; and can these patterns inform us about Knossian, Pylian, and Mycenaean society and the manners in which burials were used for social and political display. By answering these questions it became possible to understand Knossian, Pylian, and Mycenaean societies and their diverse uses of burial customs to display social and political status. Author Keywords: Burial Customs, Correspondence Analysis, Final Palatial Period, Mortuary Studies, Mycenaean Crete
Archaeology and Reconciliation in the Williams Treaties Territory
This thesis examines the history of Indigenous inclusion in the discipline of archaeology and how archaeologists can provide reconciliation when working with Indigenous peoples in their territory. This thesis focuses on the territory of the Williams Treaties with a particular focus on the location of Nogojiwanong (Peterborough). My data consists of in-depth interviews from ten informants and studying three case studies that happened in the area. I take my informants’ suggestions and apply them to my case studies, to show practical examples of how we can provide reconciliation in the field of archaeology. Author Keywords: Decolonization , Heritage Management , Indigenous, Reconciliation
Radiocarbon Analysis of the Middle to Late Woodland Transition in Southern Ontario
The goal of the thesis is to establish the temporal patterning of the cultural complexes of the Middle to Late Woodland periods in Ontario. To do so I examine the statistical shape and phase boundaries of samples of radiocarbon dates associated with the Princess Point, Sandbanks, Glen Meyer, and Pickering archaeological complexes. The radiocarbon dates used for this thesis were collected through published sources, grey literature, and resources such as the Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database. Each date was put through a data hygiene process and those deemed acceptable were merged into Summed Probability Distributions (SPDs) and further analysed through the r-carbon and OxCal packages. Bayesian statistics were used to estimate the start and end dates per complex, Shapiro-Wilks tests were used to examine the legitimacy of cultural entities, and the amount of geographic, and chronological overlap was determined by randomly sampling between the compared datasets to determine an acceptable threshold of randomness. Results indicate that the Princess Point complex does not meet the requirements of a culturally homogeneous archaeological cultural group. There is no difference in the Glen Meyer and Pickering radiocarbon patterns, which supports combining them into a single cultural designation. It was impossible to evaluate the Sandbanks complex due to a lack of radiocarbon data, although overall it seems to agree with the current understanding of the complex. Author Keywords: Glen Meyer, Ontario Archaeology, Pickering, Princess Point, Radiocarbon, Sandbanks
Postclassic Maya Diet
Postclassic (AD 900-1500) Maya diet at Ka’kabish, Belize was examined using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human bone collagen, and stable carbon isotope analysis of bone structural carbonate. Isotope data were compared to skeletal and dental indicators of diet and disease, and dietary differences among burials excavated from chultuns (B-2, C-1, C-2, and C-3) at Ka’kabish. Varying in dimensions, chultuns are characterized as multiple subterranean chambers carved into limestone bedrock, where re-entry was permitted through the removal of a capstone placed over a circular entrance. Due to poor preservation and commingling of human remains, diet and its relation to age, sex, and social status could not be explored. The general diet at Ka’kabish is consistent with the consumption of a diverse range of terrestrial plants and animals, in addition to marine resources. Relative to the other chultun burials, Chultun C-2 is an outlier, with a noticeably different diet, evidence for skeletal pathology, and absence of dental modifications. This study demonstrates a lack of significant dietary differences among Postclassic Maya sites in northern Belize, along with an apparent reliance on marine resources, further supporting the notion of a close association, and equal participation in a regional trading system with coastal sites that allowed for populations in this region to thrive during the Postclassic period. Author Keywords: Ancient Maya, Bioarchaeology, Ka'kabish, Osteology, Postclassic, Stable Isotopes
Chew the Fat
Fatty acid analysis was performed on archaeological bone from various fauna from sites in the Canadian arctic to better understand the preservation of fatty acids and their potential applications to palaeoecological and palaeodietary studies. These data were complemented by analyses of modern bone and soft tissue samples from livestock and harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus). Results of modern analyses revealed that in terrestrial species, bone has inherently lower concentrations of most fatty acids relative to other soft tissues (adipose, marrow, and muscle). These analyses suggest that the distribution of fatty acids in bone is unique compared to other tissues, and the types and abundances of fatty acids in bone may be linked to dietary sources of lipids. Of the archaeological samples analyzed, terrestrial species (caribou [Rangifer tarandus]) generally exhibited higher concentrations of saturated fatty acids compared to marine species (ringed seals [Pusa hispida] and polar bears [Ursus maritimus]), whereas marine species had higher concentrations of monounsaturated fatty acids compared to terrestrial species. Results of analyses on both modern and archaeological samples provided insight into the degradation of fatty acids in bone, and the rapid loss of polyunsaturated fatty acids in particular. Because the abundances of fatty acids are likely altered in the burial environment, it is recommended that future analyses incorporate compound specific isotope analysis to focus on applications of fatty acids that are typically in the highest abundance and arguably have undergone the least amount of change, including palmitic (C16:0) and stearic acid (C18:0) Author Keywords: Archaeological Science, Bone Lipids, Fatty Acid Analysis, GC-MS, Lipid Preservation, Palaeoecology
Bifacial Stone Tool Variability during the Late Paleoindian Period at Kruger 2 (BiEx-23), Eastern Townships, Québec
This thesis established the variability of Late Paleoindian bifacial stone tool assemblage from the Kruger 2 site. Kruger 2 is a basecamp occupied during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the Eastern Townships, Southern Quebec. The goal of this project is to quantify the variability observed in bifacial tools and to explain it. Geometrics Morphometrics and traditional attributed-base lithic analysis are used conjointly for this purpose. Geometrics Morphometrics are a set of methods that are used to distinguish groups based on their shape and to understand the differences between those groups. It is used to test the validity of the morpho-types used to classify bifacial tools found on Kruger 2 (bifaces, drills, Ste-Anne-Varney points, Agate Basin points, and other projectile points). In terms of explanation, the organization of technology postulates (sensu Nelson 1991) lies at the core of the research. The analysis involved defining the factors of biface shape variation and evaluating whether shape variation is caused primarily by raw material, function, tool life histories, or other design constraints. It was determined that all three of these factors contribute to shape differences. The data suggest that the primary factors are raw material availability and tool life histories – two factors intimately intertwined. In other words, it is the organization of technology that seems to be the driving explanatory force that accounts for shape variability. Author Keywords: Eastern Towhships, Geometrics Morphometrics, Late Paleoindian, Organization of technology, Pleistocene-Holocene Transition, Stonetool variability


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