Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Identifying non-local individuals at the ancient Maya centre of Minanha, Belize through the use of strontium isotope analysis
Strontium isotope analysis has become an important tool in identifying non-local individuals at archaeological sites. For this study, tooth enamel samples were collected from 20 individuals from the ancient Maya centre of Minanha, Belize. These individuals date to periods spanning the formative occupation of the centre, as well as its fluorescence and protracted decline. The goal of this research was to investigate if non-local individuals played a role in Minanha's formation and fluorescence. The study utilised published strontium isotope maps from Belize and the Yucatán in order to establish local 87Sr/86Sr values. The values of the Minanha enamel samples (n = 20) fell predominantly outside of the expected strontium isotope range; this result seemed implausible and an alternative method was utilised to establish the local 87Sr/86Sr values. The outlier method identified 5/20 (25%) non-local individuals. All of the non-local individuals had 87Sr/86Sr values that coincided with published 87Sr/86Sr values reported from within 10 - 20 km of Minanha. However, some strontium isotope values also corresponded with 87Sr/86Sr values reported from regions >50 km away. The percentage of non-locals at Minanha is consistent with other Mesoamerican centres. This study emphasises the importance of collecting local baseline 87Sr/86Sr values from sites themselves, as 87Sr/86Sr values from neighbouring regions might not reflect local strontium isotope values. Author Keywords: Ancient Maya, bioarchaeology, migration, mobility, Vaca Plateau
Stable Isotope Analysis of Archaeological Faunal Remains From the Middle Trent Valley, Ontario
A sample of faunal remains (n=129) from seven archaeological sites located on Pigeon and Rice Lakes, Ontario were sampled and analyzed for the stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of bone collagen. These samples date from the Archaic to Late Woodland and include 35 different animal species. The goal of this research was to investigate the isotope ecology of the Middle Trent Valley and characterize the degree to which isotope ratios varied across space and time between different lakes, as wells as variation within and between species. There were no statistically significant differences in the Middle Trent Valley δ13C or δ15N according to space and time. As such, the isotope data for all archaeological sites were combined to construct an isotope food web for the Middle Trent Valley and compared to Katzenberg’s (1989) food web. These isotope data provide some insight into the dynamic interplay between local ecosystems, and anthropogenically modified landscapes in Ontario. Author Keywords: carbon, food web reconstruction, human-animal relations, Middle Trent Valley, nitrogen, Stable isotope ecology
Water Management Amongst the Ancient States of Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Java, and Belize
This thesis investigates the organization and development of water management systems in a sample of past tropical societies in Southeast Asia and Mesoamerica. A comparative approach is employed to show how water management affected the trajectories of the ancient states of Angkor, Cambodia, Bagan, Myanmar, Sukhothai, Thailand, Central and East Java, and Caracol, Belize. Differing types of water management is demonstrated through the use of the adaptive cycle, a conceptual framework through which a broad range of socio-ecological data can be examined in order to explore shifting levels of resilience over time. To understand why levels of resilience might change over time, entanglement theory, which looks at the relationships between humans and things, is utilized to determine how entangled these societies were with water management. Particular degrees of entanglement and shifting levels of resilience provide the analysis with the means to explore how water management changed over time as these societies rose, grew, and finally collapsed. Author Keywords: Ancient Tropical Societies, Entanglement, Resilience, Socio-Ecological Dynamics, Southeast Asia, Water Management
Comparative Studies in Tropical Epicentres in Southeast Asia
From ca. 800-1400 CE, low-density agrarian states dominated Southeast Asia, their authority emanating from their epicentres at places such as Angkor in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar, and Sukhothai in Thailand. These epicentres were the setting for numerous structures, activities, and stakeholders that became integral for the perpetuation of the state. These states and their epicentres declined and collapsed around the same time. As part of a larger project (the Socio-ecological Entanglement in Tropical Societies (SETS Project), the aim of this thesis is to add to our understanding of entanglement, resilience, and collapse in Southeast Asia. Using a relatively new method that combines resilience and entanglement theories, this thesis presents a view of epicentral entanglements and vulnerabilities that eventually contributed to the collapse of these societies. The results indicate that overextended socio-ecological systems and their growing entanglements created a loss of resilience and, when faced with change in these systems, collapse. Author Keywords: Angkor, Bagan, Entanglement Theory, Resilience Theory, Southeast Asia, Sukhothai
Situating Copper Bells in Prehispanic Southwest Societies
This thesis examines the spatial, temporal, and contextual distribution of copper bells in the Greater Southwest region and how they are situated in archaeological literature. To date, 672 copper bells have been found in at least 113 different Southwestern sites dating from ca. A.D. 900-1450, though there is no archaeological evidence for metallurgical activities in the area at this time. The origin of copper bells has been assumed to be West Mexico, a region known for its metallurgical traditions and whose inhabitants produced copious amounts of similar bells. Various lists of copper bells discovered have been compiled over the years, but little consideration has been given to the role these artifacts may have played in Southwestern societies. Copper bells are frequently labelled as prestige goods in archaeological literature, a term which fails to account for their significant depositional variation. By updating the database of known Southwestern copper bells, it becomes possible to examine these contextual distributions in greater detail. It is concluded that the prestige goods model is not suitable for Southwestern copper bells in many cases, and that alternative frameworks such as inalienable possessions are a better fit for these artifacts. Author Keywords: Archaeology, copper bells, inalienable possesions, interaction, U.S. Southwest
Late Epigravettian Resource Exploitation in the Southern Pre-Alpine Region
This study examines the foraging strategies employed by Late Epigravettian occupants at Riparo Tagliente, Italy. The study sample is composed of highly fragmented macrofaunal remains recovered from a single stratigraphic layer (layer 617) located at the cave border in the southern portion of the site. Models derived from foraging theory, chiefly the Central Place Forager Prey Choice Model, are applied to interpret the pattern of faunal exploitation. Red deer (Cervus elaphus) is the most commonly identified species in the sample, followed by roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). The faunal analysis suggests that the site occupants focused their foraging efforts in lower–altitude resource patches at short travel distances. The distribution and composition of the sample indicates that bone may have been used as a fuel source in this area. Author Keywords: Archaeozoology, Foraging Theory, Taphonomy, Upper Paleolithic
Cemeteries and Hunter-Gatherer Land-Use Patterns
The principle aim of this thesis is to evaluate the applicability of the Goldstein/Kelly hypothesis, which proposes that hunter-gatherer cemeteries emerge as a product of resource competition, and function to confirm and maintain ancestral ties to critical resources. My evaluation centres on a case study of the earliest known cemeteries of the middle Trent Valley, Ontario. To determine whether these predictions are true, I investigated the ecological context of local wetland-based foraging, and undertook a locational analysis to determine if the placement of cemeteries correlates with environmental characteristics that reflect the presence of valuable resources that are unique to these locations. The analysis reveals that ancient cemeteries in the middle Trent Valley were located near seasonal riparian wetlands, possibly to secure wild rice and the variety of fauna it attracts. Through the integration of paleoecological, archaeological, and ethnographic information for the region, this research finds support for the Goldstein/Kelly hypothesis. Author Keywords: Cemeteries, Hunter-Gatherers, Landscape Archaeology, Late Archaic, Middle Woodland, Ontario
Geospatial Analysis of Late Paleoindan Hi-Lo Points in Ontario and New York
This thesis analyzes variability in a sample (n=302) of late Paleoindian Hi-Lo points from Ontario and New York. Biface variability is recorded using landmark geometric morphometrics. Raw material data is used to assess Hi-Lo toolstone usage patterns and the impact of raw material constraints on manufacture. Statistical analyses are used to assess patterning of variability in space. Spatial results are interpreted using cultural transmission theory in terms of their implications for the geographic scale of social learning among Hi-Lo knappers. Results of the spatial analyses are related to theory about hunter-gatherer social networks in order to understand the effects of hypothesized settling in processes on late Paleoindian knappers. Results indicate random spatial patterning of Hi-Lo variability. The absence of spatial autocorrelation for Hi-Lo size indicates that settling in processes were not sufficiently pronounced during the late Paleoindian period to manifest as inter-regional variability within the Hi-Lo type. Author Keywords: Biface Variability, Cultural Transmission, Geometric Morphometrics, Hi-Lo, Late Paleoindian, Ontario
Sacred Space, Ancestors, and Authority
The Middle Formative Period (1000 – 400 B.C.) has increasing become recognized as a critical locus in the development of Lowland Maya socio-political complexity. This period witnessed the founding of numerous ceremonial centers, substantial material cultural innovation, and the advent of mortuary practices indicating developing social differentiation. Recent excavations at the site of Ka’Kabish in Northern Belize have uncovered evidence significantly strengthening this view. Excavations underlying Plaza D-South at Ka’Kabish have revealed a series of bedrock-hewn pits containing offering caches of thousands of shell beads, forty-seven greenstone objects, and extensive ceramic evidence indicating communal ritual and feasting, which is argued by the author to represent a cosmographic diorama of the cave-riddled Underworld. Significantly, this elaborate cosmographic offering event appears to center on the secondary, bundled bedrock-cist burial of an important personage and/or ancestor who is accompanied by a number of finely crafted jade ornaments representing motifs and forms that have previously been interpreted as symbols of authority, rulership, and divine kingship. Comparable contemporary evidence from Northern Belize and beyond has been interpreted through models foregrounding site-founding, place-making, ancestor veneration, and aggrandizer driven social differentiation. By integrating and contrasting these existing models with new evidence from Ka’Kabish, this thesis argues that the mortuary, caching, and architectural practices evidenced at Middle Formative Ka’Kabish represent a glimpse into the incipience of the ideological complex, the socio-cultural processes, and the material manifestations propagating the development of subsequent Maya socio-political complexity, specifically the institution of divine kingship or ch’uhul ahau. Author Keywords: ancestor veneration, ancient Maya, greenstone cache, Ka’Kabish, Belize, Middle Formative, socio-political complexity
Hunnic Warfare in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries C.E.
The Huns are one of the most misunderstood and mythologized barbarian invaders encountered by the Roman Empire. They were described by their contemporaries as savage nomadic warriors with superior archery skills, and it is this image that has been written into the history of the fall of the Western Roman Empire and influenced studies of Late Antiquity through countless generations of scholarship. This study examines evidence of Hunnic archery, questions the acceptance and significance of the “Hunnic archer” image, and situates Hunnic archery within the context of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. To achieve a more accurate picture of the importance of archery in Hunnic warfare and society, this study undertakes a mortuary analysis of burial sites associated with the Huns in Europe, a tactical and logistical study of mounted archery and Late Roman and Hunnic military engagements, and an analysis of the primary and secondary literature. Author Keywords: Archer, Barbarian, Bow, Hun, Roman, Weapon
Reassessing Bioarchaeological Sex Determination and Research into Gender at the Early Anglo-Saxon Worthy Park Burial Ground Round in Hampshire, England
When bioarchaeologists investigate ancient gender identity, they typically place skeletal remains into one of six sex assessment categories: male, female, possible/probable male, possible/probable female, ambiguous, and indeterminate. However, the study samples are often reduced to male and female reproducing a male/female gender and sex binary prevalent in the "Western" cultural milieu and bioarchaeology when inferences are made about gender and sex in the past. In order to allow for the existence of non-binary cultural genders and biological sexes, this thesis: 1) demonstrates the multitude of ethnographic, ethnohistoric, historic, and medical evidence relating to non-binary sex and gender expression; 2) tests a method inspired by Whelan (1991) that looks at gender as an identity not fully inspired by biological sex; 3) keeps all sex assessment categories used by bioarchaeologists separate in analysis and interpretation; and 4) analyses patterns relating to all available material culture and biological attributes in a mortuary sample to investigate gender identity. This thesis used the Early Anglo-Saxon (470-600 AD) burial ground at Worthy Park in Hampshire to achieve these objectives. This thesis found that when examining all sex assessment categories among all mortuary variables, only the male sex was clearly defined by its mortuary assemblage. This suggests a one gender structure corresponding to linguistic evidence for one gender in Old English. Author Keywords: Anglo-Saxon, Bioarchaeology, Gender identity, Mortuary archaeology, Osteoarchaeology, Sex determination
Lithic Raw Material Characterization and Technological Organization of a Late Archaic Assemblage from Jacob Island, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario
The objective of this thesis is to document and characterize the raw material and technological organization of a Late Archaic assemblage from Jacob Island, 1B/1C area (collectively referred to as BcGo-17), Peterborough County, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. The purpose of this research is to gain a greater understanding of the Late Archaic period in central Ontario; particularly information on locally available raw material types (i.e., Trent Valley cherts) and regional interaction. My aim is to define the range of materials exploited for stone tool production and use, and to explore how variation in material relates to variation in economic strategies; I also complete a basic technological study. The collected data is then compared to temporally and geographically similar sites, and used to interpret possible relationships between acquisition practices, technology choices, and mobility. It was found that although the assemblage agrees with some of the mobility and raw material utilization models from south-western Ontario, many do not explain what was occurring on Jacob Island. Author Keywords: Archaic, Lithic Economic Strategies, Lithic Raw Material, Lithic Technology, Ontario Archaeology, Trent Valley

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