Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Maya Exploitation of Animal Resources during the Middle Preclassic Period
This study examines the foraging strategies of animal resource exploitation during the Middle Preclassic period (900-300 BC) at the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun, Belize. The faunal remains analyzed in this study were recovered from various domestic structures associated with the production of shell artifacts. Detailed taphonomic analyses have revealed that the Pacbitun faunal remains were particularly affected by weathering and density-mediated attrition. White-tailed deer was the prey most frequently acquired by the Middle Preclassic Maya of Pacbitun, followed by other lower-ranked artiodactyls. A variety of less profitable prey were sometimes included in the diet breadth. Using the central place forager prey choice model as a framework, the analysis of diet breadth, habitat use, and carcass transport patterns suggests that most animal resources were acquired from terrestrial habitats, at short distances from the site. Complete carcasses of large game appear to have been frequently transported to the site, where they were exploited for their meat and marrow. Comparisons with other Middle Preclassic faunal assemblages indicate significant differences in terms of taxonomic composition, with an emphasis on the procurement of fish and turtles. It is suggested that the Middle Preclassic Maya adopted foraging strategies focusing on the exploitation of local habitats, with occasional use of exotic resources. Author Keywords: Animal, Belize, Foraging, Maya, Subsistence, Zooarchaeology
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
Morphology, Production and Trade
The Africana IIA, an amphora subtype of the Africana II class, was produced in Africa Proconsularis (the present-day Tunisian Sahel) during the mid-Roman Imperial period (from the late 2nd c. A.D. to the middle decades of the 3rd c. A.D.), and was distributed around the western Mediterranean. Scholars have noted meaningful morphological variations on this subtype’s rim but had overlooked the information that these rims may convey. The preliminary analysis of the variations found on Africana IIA amphora rims yielded possible connections to various production sites or regions, distribution samples, and/or consumption sites, and suggested that at least some of the rim variants were indicative of origin. The rim variants also seemed to correlate to different trade routes, and potentially, different trade mechanisms, including private versus State interests. Author Keywords: Africa Proconsularis, Africana IIA amphora, ancient economy, Byzacena, ceramics, fabric analysis
Nassau Mills Complex
The objective of this thesis is to develop and implement a heritage plan for the Nassau Mills Complex, a locally-significant Euro-Canadian historical site that operated on what is now Trent University’s campus in Peterborough, Ontario. Within the framework of public archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management (CHM), emphasis is placed on the importance of protecting the site and its historic remains in order for present and future generations to appreciate and enjoy. Data was gathered by way of field and archival research, as well as through consultations with various archaeological and museological professionals. Of particular concern is evaluating how the Complex is significant to Peterborough, how it should be commemorated, public engagement and the importance of information accessibility, and the potential issues that may arise as a result of this project. In addition, recommendations regarding how the site and its collections should be preserved and presented to the collective society are also examined. Author Keywords: Cultural Heritage Management, Nassau Mills Complex, Peterborough, Preservation, Public Archaeology, Trent University
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
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
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
Ostrich Eggshell from the Far Eastern Steppe
This study uses stable isotope analysis on both the organic and inorganic fractions of ostrich eggshell obtained from archaeological excavations in Mongolia, northern China, and southern Siberia. By establishing the δ13Corg, δ15N, δ13Cinorg, δ18O isotopic compositions of the eggshell of the Asian ostrich (Struthio asiaticus), this study provides insight into the maximum northern range of the species, which I suggest reached Lake Baikal, Siberia through the late Pleistocene, up to the Last Glacial Maximum. Through these isotopic data, the interactions between S. asiaticus and human forager groups are explored, specifically the trade of ostrich eggshell by hunter/gatherer populations in the early/middle Holocene. Because of deviations from the correlation between δ18O and latitude observed for other sites, the site of Shabarakh-usu may have been an aggregation point for ostrich eggshell from other locations. Movement of eggshell is observable from north to south but not from south to north on the basis of eggshell δ18O. Finally, I am able to develop a hypothesis regarding the drivers of species extinction. Specifically, I discuss trade in eggshell leading up to extinction as evidence for human pressure on S. asiaticus at a time when environmental shifts likely isolated populations in small regions of habitable landscape. I therefore implicate both changing environmental conditions and human pressure in my proposed explanation for the extinction of S. asiaticus. Author Keywords: Extinction, Holocene, ostrich, Pleistocene, Steppe, Struthio
Paleolandscape Reconstruction of Burleigh Bay, Ontario 12,600 cal BP to Present
This thesis presents a palaeotopographic reconstruction of the Burleigh Bay region of Stony Lake (Kawartha Lakes Region, Ontario) from 12,600 cal BP to present. The paleotopographic reconstructions are used to model paleoshoreline locations and archaeological site potential for the Late Paleoindian and early Archaic periods. Isostatic rebound following the end of the last glacial period has altered the topography in the region and water levels are now artificially managed by dams constructed in the 1830s. I completed a high-resolution bathymetric survey using a kayak equiped with a GPS coupled single-beam sonar. Utilizing GIS technology and isostatic rebound response surface models, I created paleotopographic reconstructions for 12,600 cal BP, 11,500 cal BP, 7,000 cal BP, 5,700 cal BP, and present. Results show that water levels in Burleigh Bay have been regressing over time until dam construction. Early site potential is centered in northern inland areas. Site potential following 7,000 cal BP is concentrated in northern areas flooded by the dam. Based on the reconstructions, surveys in lacustrine granite shield regions that follow the Ontario Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists risk missing areas of high archaeological potential for early sites in these environments. Paleolandscape reconstructions would alleviate this issue by modeling paleoshoreline changes over time. Author Keywords: Canadian Shield, Early Archaic, Isostatic Rebound, Kawartha Lakes, Late Paleoindian, Paleolandscape
Politics of Feasting
The goal of this thesis is to explore the role that civic (i.e. state-sponsored) feasting and drinking played in early polis (pl. poleis), or city-state formation on Crete in the Early Iron Age to Archaic transition, ca. 700-500 BCE. Using the two recently excavated civic feasting structures at the site of Azoria as a model for both “inclusive” and “exclusive” forms of civic feasting, this project compares and contrasts the role that it played at a number of other sites in central and east Crete. In order to categorize the structures as either inclusive or exclusive, all forms of published evidence were examined including the buildings’ architecture and the socially valued goods and ceramics found within the structures. Ultimately, this project demonstrates that in the 8th century BCE, inclusive feasting rituals and association with the past were used as means of creating and maintaining a strong group identity, which paved the way for the use of more exclusive practices in the 7th century BCE, where sub-group identities and alliances were formed amongst members of the larger group. However, at the sites where there was evidence for multiple civic feasting venues it appears that by the 7th century BCE, the interplay of both inclusive and exclusive forms of feasting was crucial to the process of identity formation for the citizens of these proto-poleis. Author Keywords: Archaic Crete, Commensality, Feasting, Identity Formation, Polis formation
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
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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