Michigan Archaeological Society Meeting, 5 May 2016

The May meeting of the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the Michigan Archaeological Society will be held Thursday, May 5th at the Castle Museum. Patrick Lawton, an archaeology graduate student at Central Michigan University, will discuss the use of Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) and remote sensing technologies in archaeology. As always the public is invited and encouraged to attend. This will be the final meeting of the Saginaw Valley Chapter before the summer break. We will reconvene in September. The Chapter meeting notice is copied below.

Saginaw Valley Chapter meeting.

Date:  Thursday, May 5, 2016
Time:  7:00 p.m.
Location:  The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History, 500 Federal Avenue, Saginaw, MI 48607

Applying Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) in Archaeology:
Two Techniques and two Mid-Michigan sites (20SA1417 and 20IB43)
Patrick M.W. Lawton

The power of Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) to enhance the presentation and analysis of data has been demonstrated in several scientific fields. In Archaeology, GIS can serve to remotely sense buried features, determine artifact distribution, and even model past human behavior. With regard to non-intrusive archaeology, geophysical techniques ranging from advanced to the most elementary can be invoked. The MS2 (Magnetic Susceptibility Meter) can perform surveys relatively quickly compared to other methods, not to mention the instrument’s user-friendly appeal. Through the use of basic statistical algorithms, clusters of significantly high readings can be detected and mapped in the project area, allowing researchers the potential to target more labor-intensive activities such as physical excavation. Two case studies will be discussed;

  • the use of Ground Radar and historic documentation in relocating subsurface building foundations from the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School and
  • prospecting a 10-acre property in Chesaning with the Magnetic Susceptibility Meter. Using the presence of features encountered during ground-truthing and weights (per test volume) of fire-cracked-rock, the ability of the device to detect archaeological deposits in a formerly plowed-context will be evaluated and discussed.
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