Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)
Second Committee Member
Great Plains, Huff Village, Mandan, Remote Sensing
Great Plains prehistoric research has evolved over the course of a century, with many sites like Huff Village (32MO11) in North Dakota recently coming back to the forefront of discussion through new technological applications. Through a majority of its studies and excavations, Huff Village appeared to endure as the final stage in the Middle Missouri tradition. Long thought to reflect only systematically placed long-rectangular structure types of its Middle Missouri predecessors, recent magnetic gradiometry and topographic mapping data revealed circular structure types that deviated from long-held traditions, highlighting new associations with Coalescent groups. A compact system for food capacity was also discovered, with more than 1,500 storage pits visible inside and outside of all structures delineated. Archaeological applications of these new technologies have provided a near-complete picture of this 15th century Mandan expression, allowing new questions to be raised about its previous taxonomic placement. Using a combination of GIS and statistical analysis, an attempt is made to quantitatively examine if it truly represented the Terminal Middle Missouri variant, or if Huff diverted in new directions. Statistical analysis disagrees with previous conclusions that a patterned layout of structures existed, significant clustering shown through point pattern analysis and Ripley’s K function amongst structures. Clustering of external storage pits also resulted from similar analysis, highlighting a connection between external storage features and the structures they surrounded. A combination of documented defensive features, a much higher estimation of caloric support for a population present, and a short occupation lead us to believe that a significant transition was occurring that incorporated attributes of both the Middle Missouri tradition as well as the Coalescent tradition. With more refined taxonomies currently developing, it is hoped that these data will help in the effort to develop future classifications that represent this complex period in prehistory.
Mitchum, Amber Marie, "Seeing Prehistory through New Lenses: Using Geophysical and Statistical Analysis to Identify Fresh Perspectives of a 15th Century Mandan Occupation" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 2559.