Site-less survey and prehistoric artifact distribution for Blackford County, Indiana

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Miller, Joseph R.
Nolan, Kevin C.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Anthropology
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This thesis focuses on the distribution of prehistoric artifacts in Blackford County that were recovered during the course of two Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Grants: FY 2011 HPF Grant # 31921-4 and FY 2012 HPF Grant # 18-12-41921-3. The research led to the discovery of 466 archaeological sites, but the focus of this thesis is not on the sites per se, but on the distribution of the prehistoric artifacts and an analysis of the associated behaviors. The basic question underlying this thesis is: (1) What is the distribution of human activity on the landscape of Blackford County? The related and subsidiary questions are: (2) How was the landscape being used in prehistoric times? (2a) What kinds of artifacts are found in association with others? The distribution of behaviors on the landscape may be determined by the association or disassociation of certain artifacts. (2b) What was the distance to water for all of these sites? Distance to water is important to measure because it indicates a basic necessity and it may be revealed through this analysis that certain behaviors are either closer or further from water sources. (2c) Are certain types of artifacts/behaviors associated with certain types of soils? (2d) Based on the distribution and morphology of lithic debitage, what can be said about cultural behaviors? The primary methods used in this thesis are a comprehensive metrical and morphological analysis of all prehistoric artifacts, GIS analysis of the distribution of these artifacts within their artifact types, and statistical analyses based on the GIS analysis looking for correlation and divergence among all of the artifacts. The resulting research from this thesis will greatly contribute to the knowledge of the Tipton Till Plain archaeology and further refine our understanding of the distribution of artifacts on the landscape of Blackford County, Indiana. The results indicate that the Mississinewa watershed was a persistently used area for residential activities and that the Salamonie watershed was repeatedly used as an area for resource extraction activities.