Remote Sensing Applications in Alberta Plains Archaeology

  • Author / Creator
    Gadd, Katherine
  • While research has been done in North America on the uses of various near surface geophysical techniques on european settler sites, the pre-contact sites of the First Nations people are often seen as too difficult to interpret separately from the environment they are in. This research set out to determine which remote sensing technologies are useful to pre-contact archaeological research being conducted on sites of Plains Cultures on the Mattheis Ranch managed by the Rangeland Research Institute of the University of Alberta. A Landscape Archaeological context was used to provide a structure with which human impacts on the landscape, and how the landscape they lived in might have impacted them, are put into perspective.
    Aerial data is already widely used in Alberta archaeology and with large scale data sets available including satellite imagery, digitized air photos, and LiDAR providing historic, environmental, and landscape context to sites. Magnetic gradiometry is less understood, especially in a pre-contact context, but was shown to be useful in identifying potential cultural features for further investigation. Ground Penetrating Radar proved to be useful in conjunction with the magnetic gradiometry data at identifying cultural features that contained large enough physical objects within them, as shown at a suspected buried tipi ring at EfOx-80. At sites along Matzhiwin Creek, it also provided interesting information about site makeup and the environmental processes affecting them.
    Overall, remote sensing was shown to be a useful collection of tools in directing archaeological research and hypothesis testing. Aerial data provides good context for near surface geophysical techniques which in turn offer information at a feature level within sites. While Aerial data is often one of the first resources used when planning an archaeological project, near surface geophysics should be included in the planning stages of a project when ways of testing theories based on their results can be incorporated into the research design.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.