Anthropology Theses and Dissertations

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    (2023) VonStrohe, Doug; Palus, Matthew; Anthropology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The Bibb Escapes/Gatewood Plantation (15TM35) is located on private property in Bedford, Trimble County, in the Outer Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Recently, the site has been added to the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program due to the historical association with an escaped enslaved man, Henry Bibb. Henry, his wife Malinda, and their daughter were owned by William Gatewood. After multiple failed attempts of fleeing slavery, the Bibb family was sold down the Ohio River and were separated. Henry eventually escaped to Canada and became a prominent figure in the African-American community and abolitionist circuit. Bibb wrote his autobiography detailing his successful and failed attempts of escaping slavery and made mentions of his time on the Gatewood Plantation. Other archival data shows there were approximately one dozen enslaved persons on the Gatewood Plantation throughout the antebellum time period, but not much else is known about them.The Oldham County History Center has sponsored public archaeological excavations at the site since 2005, including public excavations and a summer field school for high school students. Early excavations uncovered a stone chimney and presumably a summer kitchen with a possible pit cellar. Recent public excavations documented an area of interest that includes a separate activity area indicating a structure with three subsurface features. For this thesis I hypothesize the area of interest to be the location of the quarters for the enslaved people on the Gatewood Plantation. Other queries include: what is the form and function of this building and how do the features function within the whole Gatewood Plantation? Do the cultural materials represent the antebellum time period? Can the cultural materials demonstrate the change in occupancy or indicate specific behaviors of the occupants of the structure? Excavation of the features and analysis of the cultural materials was conducted to answer the research questions. The results of the fieldwork and analysis supported by historical documentation of the Gatewood Plantation and compared to other similar, local, and regional sites strongly indicate a positive response to the hypothesis. This investigation provides important information regarding past components of slave quarters within farmsteads of the Upland South. The archaeological work at 15TM35 also adds insight to the historic context of the region and to the history of Henry Bibb and the enslaved community he was part of.
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    (2023) Plent, Samuel Gerard; Palus, Matthew M; Anthropology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis explores how the presence of recent timbering activities affects the predictive power of predictive models in regard to precontact archaeological sites. Predictive models have been used to assess the likelihood of identifying cultural resources in a given area for decades. A county-wide predictive model has not been created for any county in the state of Georgia. This research applies what is known about predictive modeling to Henry County, Georgia and assesses its accuracy. It then seeks to test predictive power of another environmental variable in order to further refine the process of predicting the location of precontact archaeological sites. The thesis focuses its efforts in Henry County, Georgia, which has multiple instances of pine silviculture areas that have been surveyed for cultural resources after being harvested. Timber has been an important natural resource in Georgia since the nineteenth century. The management of forests for the timber industry began in 1875 with the establishment of the American Forestry Association. The timbering and replanting of these areas can occur as often as every 15 to 30 years. This process can disturb soils and buried resources. Elevation, soil, and hydrology data was collected from multiple public sources including the United State Geological Survey (USGS) and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA, NRCS). Archaeological site and previous survey data was taken from the Georgia Natural Archaeological and Historic Resources Geographic Information Systems (GNAHRGIS). The environmental data was combined to create a set of predictive models for predicting the likelihood of an area to contain a precontact archaeological site using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Each predictive model was tested for accuracy using previously collected archaeological data. The predictive model found to be most accurate was analyzed within multiple areas containing recent timbering activities that have been previously surveyed for cultural resources. It appears that the presence of recent timbering activities does not negatively affect the predictive power of a predictive model regarding precontact archaeological sites. This is demonstrated by showing that a predicative model for the entirety of Henry County, Georgia does not lose accuracy when applied to multiple areas that have been timbered prior to survey for cultural material. Predictive models can be powerful tools in the Cultural Resource Manager’s toolkit. However, many may be reticent to apply these tools to areas that have seen large-scale industrial ground disturbing activities. This thesis has demonstrated that predictive models can still be useful tools in areas recently affected by large-scale timbering activities. While systematic survey is still necessary, this can be helpful in matters of scoping, budgeting, and planning
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    The Effect of Landscape Evolution on the Visibility of the Archaeological Record: A Case Study from Deeply Buried Site CA-SLO-16, Morro Bay, California
    (2023) Bales, Emily Marie; Palus, Matthew; Anthropology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Morro Bay, California is a biotically-diverse region with a rich cultural history. In the archaeological community, there is an ongoing debate over the probable cause for an occupational hiatus in the region during the Middle Period (2600-1000 BP). This case study addresses this disparity and presents the results of a single component, deeply buried, Middle Period archaeological site. This thesis highlights how landform age, landscape evolution, and geoarchaeological methodology can affect the probability of identifying deeply buried archaeological sites. Interdisciplinary data (e.g., seismology, geology, geography, paleoseismology) have proven useful in making a significant contribution in the understanding of a previously unknown period of occupation in Morro Bay.
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    (2023) Roberts, Catherine; Leone, Mark; Anthropology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation reports the results of a study on family farms that existed in Stafford and Caroline counties, Virginia, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. A framework based on the characteristics of the Latin American peasantry, as outlined by Eric Wolf (Wolf 1955, 1966), was applied to the data for this study. This research aims to expound on the current literature on farmstead archaeology and the understanding of a community with little formal history. While many local historians recognized the need to compile and publish their counties’ histories, few outside researchers were interested in writing about either county.
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    (2022) Andrews, Zachary Schaller; Palus, Matthew M.; Anthropology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Recent archaeological investigations conducted at Penns Neck, a community originally established by the descendants of Dutch immigrants in northern Mercer County, New Jersey, revealed evidence of prosperous late-colonial and post-revolutionary family networks extending from the mid eighteenth to the twentieth century. The presence of domestic residences and family-owned farming operations at Penns Neck, including those at the Schenk-Jewell farmhouse and the Covenhoven-Silvers-Logan house, provide the opportunity to examine the development of late eighteenth and nineteenth century rural communities, particularly with Dutch-heritage backgrounds, and to help explore the nuanced link between traditions utilized by farming households and larger institutional and socio-economic systems that operated within these farming communities. The research question addressed by this thesis is: what were the traditional elements of cultural identity embraced by Dutch communities, especially at Penns Neck, and how were traditions changed and adapted to the pursuit of capitalistic enterprises and ideologies. Using a Marxist approach coupled with ideas from world systems theory, analysis of consumption patterns, landscape design, and class relations can peer into the economic and social realities transpiring at these sites exposing ties to larger governing, and invisible, networks of power expressed within the community. Patterns of consumption, wealth distribution, and labor relations at Penns Neck show an intermeshing of traditional values and ideas that both resist and sway to general socio-economic pressures and circumstances emerging across the region. Spatial and temporal analysis of artifacts, architectural forms, and landscape development show clear attempts by the capitalist farmers to naturalize/solidify their place within the social-economic order, in which symbols supporting capitalistic ideologies were ingrained in the landscape. This contrasts with earlier community members that used social institutions outside the farm to raise social and political capital, rather than solely economic capital, in the community to climb and hold positions of the social hierarchy. Despite the profound changes occurring on the landscape during the occupation of the site by the Schenck and Jewell families, some traditions remain, including the use of value systems and institutions, material culture by type, and symbols that reflect the family’s Dutch ethnic heritage. At large, the study follows Wurst and Mrozowski (2016) that capitalism in not a fixed entity, but a dynamic and multi-faceted totality that both shapes and conforms to the society that embraces it, even at the community level; the cultural expression of agrarian families on the Penns Neck landscape help depict and provide an example of the dynamic nature of capitalism from the eighteenth to the twentieth century and the nuanced experience that emerging capitalistic institutions and pursuits had on the day-to-day lives of the community members. The archaeological data collected for the analysis was largely acquired during the Phase II site evaluation of the Schenk-Jewell Farm Site (28ME408), Covenhoven-Silvers-Logan House Site (28ME410), and Lower Harrison Street Domestic Site (28ME413) by the Ottery Group during the summer and winter of 2021, which yielded an artifact assemblage dating as early as the mid-eighteenth century extending across multiple family generations up to the twentieth century. The archaeological investigation revealed evidence of the original location of the main houses and multiple structural features associated with the former outbuildings in the adjacent work yards. Historical documentation, including state land records, census and tax records, deeds and wills, maps and aerials, and historic photos, were analyzed, to contextualize the archaeological data and the family histories in a way that addresses the themes of this thesis. Archaeological sites, located in both Old World and New World contexts, that were identified during the literature review were compared in an attempt to identify Dutch-American cultural patterns present across the sites. While the analysis was successful in tracing certain elements of Dutch cultural continuity, that is in the occurrence of ceramic types and architectural forms, of the early families settling at Penns Neck, these traditions were challenged and refitted to accommodate the needs of emerging farming operations, which attempted to capitalize on the connection of Penns Neck into a wider regional economy during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.