Non-invasive investigation of Arctic hunter-gatherer archaeological landscapes using combined remote sensing and near surface geophysics

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2015, 2016, 2018-03, 2018-04
Landry, David Bryce
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Wiley Online Library
De Gruyter Online
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This dissertation aims to test and evaluate new applications of non-invasive remote sensing and geophysical technologies at three archaeological sites (LdFa-1; LeDx-42; and LbDt-1) located in the interior region of southern Baffin Island, Nunavut. LdFa-1 and LeDx-42 are both Paleo-Inuit occupation sites, while LbDt-1 is one of only two known chert quarry sites in this region. Methods used at these three Paleo-Inuit sites include terrestrial laser scanning, radar imaging, electromagnetic resistivity and conductivity mapping, and magnetic susceptibility mapping. The methods are examined for both their effectiveness in archaeological fieldwork, and their investigative value on lower relief hunter-gatherer sites. The results of these tests are presented through four original research manuscripts. Developing and integrating a non-invasive multi-method approach to site investigation in the Arctic facilitates efficient in-field data acquisition and allows for less reliance on wide-scale excavation and extended field seasons. Because weather can be an unpredictable factor on site accessibility in the deep interior regions, entire field seasons can, and have been derailed despite best planning efforts and sufficient funding. As such, it is vital that these technologies enable us to collect valuable data within a limited amount of time. Remote sensing and geophysical survey data were collected, processed, analysed, and interpreted in both field and lab settings throughout this project. Because the motivations of this project are heavily methodological in nature, the analytical approach of this dissertation focuses on the ways to integrate these methods and interpretations within pre-established archaeological frameworks. The results of this study demonstrate that non-invasive, multi-method investigation of Arctic hunter-gatherer sites is an effective approach to derive detailed archaeological data without the need for wide-scale excavation. With these data, I was able to more clearly interpret and understand Paleo-Inuit toolstone use and transport patterns beginning at a quarry and then extending across southern Baffin Island’s interior and coastal regions. The combined subsurface imaging and surveys proved to be the most effective way to locate, identify, and investigate anthropogenic features in these complex Arctic environments, and ultimately the resulting information they acquired has enhanced our overall understanding of Paleo-Inuit lifeways in this region.
Arctic Prehistory, Non-Invasive Archaeology, Geophysics, Remote Sensing, southern Baffin Island, Nunavut
Landry, D. B., Ferguson, I. J., Milne, S. B., Park, R. W. (2015). Combined Geophysical Approach in a Complex Arctic Archaeological Environment: A Case Study from the LdFa-1 Site, Southern Baffin Island, Nunavut. Archaeological Prospection 22(3): 157-170
Landry, D. B., Milne, S. B., Park, R. W., Ferguson, I. J., Fayek, M. (2016). Manual Point Cloud Classification and Extraction for Hunter-Gatherer Feature Investigation: A Test Case from Two Low Arctic Paleo-Inuit Sites. Open Archaeology 2(1): 232-242, DOI: 10.1515/opar-2016-0017
Landry, D. B., Ferguson, I. J., Milne, S. B., Serzu, M., Park, R. W. (2018) Integrated Geophysical Techniques for the Archaeological Investigation of LbDt-1, a Paleo-Inuit Quarry Site in the Interior of Southern Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory DOI:
Landry, D. B., Milne, S. B., ten Bruggencate, R. E. (Accepted). Combining Remote Sensing, Geophysics, and Lithic Provenance and Reduction to Understand Long-Term Continuity in Paleo-Inuit Chert Quarrying and Seasonal Inland Travels on Southern Baffin Island, NU. Quaternary International