Adaptive Approaches to the Thingness of Institutional Datasets: A View from North Carolina

Author(s): Mary Fitts; Samuel Franklin

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology has been building a database of standardized information about archaeological sites since 1977. Like most datasets that bridge the analog to digital transition, the North Carolina site file has experienced several distinctive phases of accretional development. Designed for the purposes of predictive modeling, the database initially included many environmental variables but few artifact-specific fields. With the increasing accessibility of Geographic Information Systems and geospatial data, many of the environmental variables are now at best redundant, and it is the artifact data that are of interest for examining large-scale patterns in landscape use through time. In this paper we examine the thingness of the North Carolina Site File database: how does this mass of information resist our efforts to study it, and what potential does it hold? We then discuss our strategies for overcoming some of the challenges associated with institutionally managed archaeological data and the results of our attempts to learn from the four decades of work condensed in the North Carolina site file through a spatial analysis of Archaic Period stone tools.

Cite this Record

Adaptive Approaches to the Thingness of Institutional Datasets: A View from North Carolina. Mary Fitts, Samuel Franklin. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450089)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25905