Ground Works: Archaeological Sites in Depth

Samedi, mai 18, 2019 - 9:00am - 12:00pm
  • Paulina Scheck - University of Toronto
09:10 AM: Micromorphology of an Eroding Soil Profile with an Outcropping Inuvialuit Winter House from McKinley Bay, Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Paulina  Scheck - University of Toronto
  • T. Max Friesen - University of Toronto
  • Jeffrey G.  Speller - University of Toronto

This paper discusses the results of a micromorphological investigation of thin-sections of oriented soil samples from an eroding profile from McKinley Bay, an Inuvialuit site on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, in the Western Arctic, occupied during the 16th and 17th centuries. In recent years, the area has been subject to more frequent storms, which have amplified the rate of coastal erosion and led to the exposure of cultural features. The soil profile sampled is located on a sand bluff and contains outcropping sections of a winter house. Samples were collected from three locations, including the areas that transect the entrance tunnel and the middle of the house floor, and an off-site location that provided a background sample. The profile was sampled vertically to include all stratigraphic units identified in the field. Layers have been classified according to the Soils of Canada glossary and described based on the nature of soil constituents, their size, abundance, distribution and orientation. Natural processes impacting the site include cryoturbation through mechanical sorting, translocation of fine soil mass and coarse fraction down the profile, and reduction-oxidation of iron and manganese associated with the freeze-thaw cycle. The impact of human occupation consists of an increase in the amount of soil organic matter, with related surface vegetation bloom, and additions of softwood and hardwood that boosted both soil fauna and fungal activity. Some break-up of the soil profile was noted, with erosion being a potential contributing factor. Despite this, the cultural layer analyzed remains largely intact. 

09:40 AM: A preliminary reanalysis of the stratigraphy of the PPN site of Ganj Dareh (Iran)
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Andrew Lythe - Laboratoire d’archéologie de l’Anthropocène, Département d’anthropologie, Université de Montréal
  • Julien  Riel-Salvatore - Laboratoire d’archéologie de l’Anthropocène, Département d’anthropologie, Université de Montréal

Ganj Dareh is a Pre-Pottery Neolithic site situated in the Zagros Mountains of Southwestern Iran and has the potential to enhance our understanding of the onset of the Neolithic. At present, all publications concerning Ganj Dareh have identified five major occupational horizons, referred to as levels A to E, from top to bottom. Although the absence of structural features clearly distinguishes level E from levels D to A, levels D to A remain largely archaeologically indistinguishable. Furthermore, the stratigraphic horizons that exist within each of these levels have not been clearly defined. This has led to chronological uncertainty, as is evident in the significant overlap between the radiocarbon dates taken from levels D to A documented in recent publications. In this report, we present the results of a meticulous reanalysis of the original excavation documentation compiled during the 1971 field season in four adjacent trenches and identify as many as fourteen distinct stratigraphic horizons were identified. This presentation presents the first clear definition of the vertical and horizontal coordinates of each occupational horizon at Ganj Dareh, as well as describes the archaeological features such as hearths or walls they include. This first step provides a better understanding of Ganj Dareh’s stratigraphy and provides us with the necessary context from which a more robust chronological framework can be constructed, while developing a more nuanced picture of the full complexity of Ganj Dareh’s archaeological record. 


10:30 AM: Revisiting the Use of Traditional Archaeological Methods in the Cultural Resource Management Industry
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Vanessa Sullivan - Colbr Consulting, Inc

Proper archaeological investigation, using traditional archaeological methods, can take time. However, time is a limited and elusive resource in the fast-paced North America development industry. When it comes to the EIA or ESA processes in Canada and the United States, respectively, developers often are leery of their project triggering the cultural resource management and archaeology reviews. The is because archaeology struggles to keep up with the fast timeline development projects are often expected to be completed within. The issue of time has caused some professionals to cut corners and rush their work, resulting in poor data collection and insufficient data analysis. Other professionals, however, have sought out solutions which has led to some impressive technology being utilized in the field of archaeology.

Mechanical archaeological testing, being one example of the aforementioned newer technology, has provided an alternative to traditional archaeology that enables extensive sub-surface sampling within a fraction of the time that standard survey requires. The technological advances in archaeology have certainly aided in minimizing the time in which archaeology can be completed in, but are traditional archaeological methods compatible or appropriate when such technology is used? Does archaeological method need to be modified or redefined for newer technologies? How can traditional archeological methods be modernized to fit a modern world? Using mechanical archaeological testing as an example, sampling, excavation, screening, and other archaeological methods are looked at and examined to see if their original purpose holds up with newer technology designed with the development industry in mind.

11:00 AM: Recent Technological Advancements for the Systematic Sampling of Deep Sites in New Brunswick
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Chelsea Colwell-Pasch - Colbr Consulting, Inc

Traditionally, the systematic sampling of deep sites for archaeological impact assessments has posed both methodological and logistical barriers to comprehensive sub-surface testing strategies in New Brunswick’s many riverine alluvial valleys. Those barriers, within areas deemed high potential by the New Brunswick Archaeological Services Branch predictive model, contribute to a lack of data and loss of material culture. Recent innovations in mechanical testing strategies within the province has produced the first successful commercial systematic sub-surface testing projects along the alluvial floodplains of New Brunswick’s major river systems. Traditionally these deep areas, slated for infrastructure development, would be monitored during construction, resulting in a significant loss to the archaeological record. This paper will discuss the traditional issues of systematic sampling of deep sites, the methodological benefits and limitations of mechanical testing for deep sites, and the potential impact of introducing routine deep site testing into the scope of archaeological work for the province.

11:30 AM: Groundtruthing Magnetic Gradiometry at the Spang site, A Late Woodland Village in Rouge National Urban Park of Canada
Format de présentation :
Auteur-e(s) :
  • Jenneth Curtis - Parks Canada
  • Jennifer Birch - University of Georgia

In collaboration with the First Nations Advisory Circle of Rouge National Urban Park we conducted magnetic gradiometry survey of selected areas at the Spang site to identify potential cultural features associated with this village settlement.  Using small scale excavations and core samples we investigated the source of several potential anomalies identified in gradiometry data suspected to be archaeological features such as hearths, potential longhouses, palisade lines, and middens.  This paper presents the results of our investigations along with an assessment of the effectiveness of this remote sensing technique in investigating settlement patterns on village sites.