Graduate Theses & Dissertations


Why fish when you could farm? A stable isotope analysis of changing diet and ritual killing in the Virú Valley, Peru
Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses were performed on individuals from the Virú Valley, Peru to better understand the people and society in this region of early-state development. This analysis also sheds light on the lives of individuals from a ritual killing event at Huaca Santa Clara. Bone collagen stable isotope analysis revealed that all individuals had diets predominantly based on terrestrial resources, while incremental hair segments, skin, tendon, and nails revealed that marine resources made small, non-seasonal contributions to the diet. The prioritization of farming over fishing in the Virú Valley may be indicative of the economic specialization of agricultural and marine subsistence practices by distinct communities and the tendency of state-level societies to monopolize agricultural resources. The isotopic compositions of the individuals from the Huaca Santa Clara ritual killing event showed no evidence of a controlled diet before their death and identified a likely migrant to Virú. Author Keywords: Diet, Early Intermediate Period, Early-State Development, North Coast Peru, Ritual Killing Event, Stable Isotope Analysis
Rendering New Insights
The Upper Paleolithic sequence at Vale Boi, Portugal, represents an early example of resource intensification, for which evidence of both diet diversification and intensified utilization of faunal remains has been published. The current research project tests the hypothesis that bone grease rendering was occurring throughout the Upper Paleolithic sequence at Vale Boi. As there are various issues of equifinality which makes the identification of bone grease rendering challenging, data from experimental bone grease rendering studies were utilized. The resulting analysis demonstrated limited evidence in support of a sustained use of bone grease rendering during the Upper Paleolithic sequence. However, evidence suggested that alternate bone processing activities and discard behaviours may have been occurring at the site. This suggests that the dietary behaviours of the foragers at Vale Boi were more varied than previously hypothesized. Author Keywords: Archaeozoology, Bone Grease Rendering, Faunal Analysis, Iberia, Resource Intensification, Upper Paleolithic
Olives in the Mountains
Olives have been grown in the Mediterranean region for millennia and have been a staple crop in many of its cultures. This was never more true than during the Hellenistic (323 – 133 BC) and Roman (133 BC – AD 450) periods in the Mediterranean. This thesis examines the territory of the Roman city of Sagalassos in the region of Pisidia, modern province of Burdur, and determines if olives could have been cultivated in the territory. While there have been studies that state olives were cultivated in the territory during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, modern farmers as well as agronomic manuals state that such growth is not possible. This thesis present data that indicates that olives were grown in the territory of Sagalassos, but also examines the conditions olives require to grow and if such conditions existed in Pisidia. Through this I will be able to conclude whether the past presentation of data has does indeed prove that olives were grown within the territory of Sagalassos. Author Keywords: Agricultural Decision Making, Olives, Pisidia, Roman Agriculture, Sagalassos, Turkey
An Analysis of Hafted Biface Variability in the Kawartha Lakes and Trent River Drainage Region
The objective of this thesis is to evaluate the temporal sensitivity of morphological variability in hafted bifaces in the Kawartha Lakes and Trent River drainage region. This provides a base of information that will enable future analyses that address the possible sources of this variability and to test the robustness of existing typological categories of hafted bifaces for relative dating. This base of information is established via the use of a principal component analysis of shape, raw material, and use-life data from a large sample of hafted bifaces in the region, using a new geometric morphometrics method designed to improve the accuracy of shape representation. The results of the analysis indicate that while certain typological categories may represent distinct morphotypes that are temporally sensitive, the majority of typological categories in the sample show high, overlapping morphological variability that cannot be confidently correlated temporally based on shape alone. Author Keywords: Geometric Morphometrics, Morphological Variability, Ontario Archaeology, Principal Component Analysis, Project Point Morphology, Projectile Point Typology
North Shore Legacies
On the North Shore of Lake Ontario near Port Hope, Ontario is a large archaeological site (BaGo-29) that has been visited and occupied multiple times over the millennia. First called the Beatty site was originally excavated by avocational archaeologist Mr. Ed. Austin between 1963 and 1972. In the subsequent decades, the Beatty site would be revisited, renamed the Gibbs site, and re-excavated without knowledge of Mr. Austin’s initial investigations of the site. The present research concerns the study of the E.W. Austin Beatty site legacy collection. Inter-site comparisons of the E.W. Austin Beatty site assemblage to others throughout Southern Ontario and upstate New York in combination with intra-site analysis of the material culture remains and chronologically significant variables contained in the Austin assemblage reveal that the occupational history of the Beatty site may not be as simple as subsequent excavations have interpreted. Author Keywords: Avocational Archaeology, Bone Tool Analysis, Intra-Site Analysis, Legacy Collections, Occupational History
Ceramic Analysis of Jacob Island 2
The goal of this thesis is to develop an understanding of the history of Middle and Late Woodland settlement at Jacob Island, located in Pigeon Lake in the Trent River region, through analysis of ceramic artifacts recovered during the 2016 excavation program. Using both typological and attribute based analysis. The results indicate a form of seasonal occupation. The ceramic patterning on site is broken down and fully examined for intra-site patterning and compared to concurrent regional examples. The regional comparison is carried out through statistical testing of independence. The results demonstrate both continuity and a pattern that is different than the surrounding region, supporting the concept of different expressions of materiality. These findings place JI-2 in a broader context with contemporary research in the South Eastern areas of Ontario and, in particular, the Trent River region. Author Keywords: Ceramic Analysis, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario Archaeology, Typology, Woodland
Merit-Making and Monuments
Bagan, Myanmar’s capital during the country’s Classical period (c. 800-1400 CE), and its surrounding landscape was once home to at least four thousand monuments. These monuments were the result of the Buddhist pursuit of merit-making, the idea that individuals could increase their socio-spiritual status by performing pious acts for the Sangha (Buddhist Order). Amongst the most meritous act was the construction of a religious monument. Using the iconographic record and historical literature, alongside entanglement theory, this thesis explores how the movement of labour, capital, and resources for the construction of these monuments influenced the settlement patterns of Bagan’s broader cityscape. The findings suggest that these monuments bound settlements, their inhabitants, and the Crown, in a variety of enabling and constraining relationships. This thesis has created the foundations for understanding the settlements of Bagan and serves as a useful platform to perform comparative studies once archaeological data for settlement patterning becomes available. Author Keywords: Bagan, Entanglement, Religious Monuments Buddhism, Settlement Patterns, Southeast Asia
Community, Complexity, and Collapse
The city-state of Minanha, located in west central Belize, reached its zenith and most culturally complex stage by the Late Classic period, 675-810 AD. Only a century later, its royal court “collapsed”. The Contreras Valley is a small farming community located in a settlement zone south of Minanha. Decades of research at Minanha and the analysis of artifact frequencies from commoner households allow for a better understanding of the intra- and inter-community social practices occurring at the site of Contreras Valley and within the greater Minanha area. An Archaeology of Communities as well as Resilience Theory frameworks are utilized to explore the integrative social, political, and economic strategies of this commoner population. These theories are used to better understand the developmental history of the royal court from the perspective of the peripheral commoners, who sustained a population while the royal court disintegrated. Furthermore, this thesis focuses on the intersection of resilience and communities, and how the Contreras Valley experienced phases of resilience as well as vulnerability throughout its history. The resilience of this group of individuals will generate an increased cognizance of how a community copes with and continues to thrive in a climate of political chaos and instability. Author Keywords: Ancient Maya, Archaeology, Archaeology of Communities, Artifact frequencies, Resilience Theory, Settlement pattern studies
Ethnoarchaeology in the Traditional Villages of Bagan, Myanmar
This thesis investigates the current composition of traditional settlements located in and around the remains of the ancient, walled and moated, regal-ritual epicenter of Bagan, Myanmar. This study also provides some suggestions as to strategies that may be employed by future settlement archaeology projects in the region. To achieve the aims of this study, an ethnoarchaeological approach was employed at ten village sites located on the Bagan plain: Thè Pyin Taw, Thè Shwe Hlaing, Zee Oo, Kon Sin Kyi, Kon Tan Gyi, Minnanthu, Hpauck Sein Pin, Thah Tay Kan, East Pwa Saw, and West Pwa Saw. The data obtained from these villages, compounds, and houses is used to generate a version of the average Bagan village, compound (i.e., house lot), and house. The model Bagan village, compound, and house are in turn used to provide the basis for suggestions to be used in future settlement archaeology projects. Author Keywords: Ancient Tropical Societies, Bagan, Ethnoarchaeology, Myanmar, Settlement Archaeology, Southeast Asia
When He Reigns, It Pours
This thesis examines the symbolic meaning and significance that the elite attached to water in ancient Bagan. Through the use of ethnoarchaeological, epigraphic, archaeological, and iconographic data, this study examines the role of water as part of rituals performed by the royal court and the ways in which the royalty of Bagan, in particular King Kyansittha, negotiated, appropriated and disseminated water symbolism to fulfill his interests. Data indicates that the symbolic and religious meaning of water was intricately attached to Buddhist concepts of fertility, wisdom, creativity, and protective powers. Evidence suggests that the royalty employed different techniques to appropriate and disseminate water ritualization, including the performance of water rituals that were closely attached to kingship, power, and ruler legitimacy, the promotion of an alliance with creatures capable of increasing rains and fertility, and the use of analogies that compared the properties of water with the virtues of the king. Author Keywords: Bagan, Bagan Iconography, Jataka Tales, Royal Rituals, Theravada Buddhism, Water Rituals
Neolithic Resource Use and Adaptation in the Eastern Gobi Desert
Stone axes and adzes first appeared in the eastern Gobi Desert at 8.0 cal BP and were incorporated into the technological package. At the same time, changes in local ecological conditions reflect a transition from continuous grass/shrub-steppe across the Mongolian Plateau to the development of dispersed patches of dune-field wetland oases and high-elevation forests. This thesis focuses on exploring the adoption and function of axes and adzes in the eastern Gobi Desert and their relationship to the development of these new forested ecologies. Using an experimental and use-wear approach, I analyze 29 axes and adzes from four sites in the eastern Gobi Desert of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia. Results indicate that axes and adzes were primarily used for woodworking but include other activities. Furthermore, the adoption and manufacture of axes and adzes represent an increasing investment in producing formal technologies as resources within these new diverse ecological patches were intensively utilized. Author Keywords: Adaptation, Axes and Adzes, Eastern Gobi Desert, Neolithic, Technological Intensification, Use-Wear
Question of Space
Chultuns are subterranean chambers that are found throughout the Maya area. The purpose of this thesis is to provide further insight into the function of chultuns, specifically within the area of the Southern Maya Lowlands. Within the Northern Lowlands, the Pre-Columbian Maya used chultuns for water storage, but this function does not appear to be as prevalent within the Southern Lowlands Through reviewing published literature and first-hand excavation, a total of 332 chultuns located with the specified area were catalogued into a database. Based on the information obtained from the research, this thesis has identified the most frequent final function of chultuns, if there is chronological change in final functions of chultuns, and if there is regional change in final functions of chultuns. Author Keywords: burial, chultuns, Maya, ritual, Southern Lowlands, storage


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