The Third Dimension in Archaeological Spatial Analysis: Vertical Definition of Occupation Layers at the Stampede Site, DjOn-26
Publication Type:Conference Paper
Archaeological investigations typically involve the meticulous recording of artefacts in three dimensions for the generation of both horizontal and vertical profiles. In situations where site stratigraphy is complex, the distinction between individual occupation levels can be difficult. Periodic flooding at the Stampede site in Cypress Hills, Alberta, has resulted in vertical separation between occupation levels, offering a rare opportunity to evaluate the distribution of archaeological materials in three dimensions. While occupation levels are clearly distinguishable throughout the site, vertical separation remains difficult in some areas. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is applied to a three-dimensional intra-site spatial analysis of artefact and bone distributions from three occupation layers at the site. The K-means statistical clustering method is used to identify and interpret the vertical distribution of archaeological materials from three closely spaced occupation layers in paleosols 6, 7 and 8. The results of this analysis demonstrate the utility of the combined application of K-means cluster analysis and GIS as a means of testing the integrity of archaeological levels when the slope is minimal. However, post-depositional disturbances such as wall slumping have had considerable impact on the natural distribution of artefacts, posing an interesting problem for spatial investigations. Continued research and future spatial analysis will require careful consideration of the problems identified in this research.