Using GIS to Describe and Understand Archaeological Site Distribution: Mapping Fort St. Joseph

Part of the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological project

Author(s): Susan Benston

Year: 2010


Geography and geographic perspectives make important contributions to many other disciplines. This thesis project is designed to bring a geographic perspective to an ongoing archaeological investigation. The project is focused on Fort Saint Joseph, a French colonial mission, garrison and trading post built in 1691 and occupied for 90 years. The site has been excavated for six years and plans are in place for annual excavations until 2018. As the body of information about the site increases, a system for tracking geographic information about the site and the recovered artifacts becomes more vital. In this first application of computer mapping to the Fort St. Joseph project, ArcGIS is used to record and quantify excavation results, geophysical survey data, GPS data, and topographical data about the site. GIS analysis enables calculation of densities of artifact types, comparison of relationships between artifact recovery zones and predictions of unknown artifact densities.

This thesis will illustrate the importance of a spatially informed archaeology, define the purpose and objectives of the research project, outline the methods that will be used, and discuss the impact of the project. Primarily the thesis will provide an exploratory view of the excavations at Fort St. Joseph, putting the spatial information about the site into a database for the first time and beginning to discern spatial patterns.

Cite this Record

Using GIS to Describe and Understand Archaeological Site Distribution: Mapping Fort St. Joseph. Susan Benston. Masters Thesis. Western Michigan University, Department of Anthropology. 2010 ( tDAR id: 372432) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8DN43K9

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1691 to 1781

Spatial Coverage

min long: -86.285; min lat: 41.794 ; max long: -86.238; max lat: 41.827 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Principal Investigator(s): Michael Nassaney

File Information

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using-gis-to-describe-and-understand-archaeological-site-distr... 3.31mb Dec 7, 2011 7:37:40 PM Public