Northeast Historical Archaeology

Article Title

Volume Abstract


This volume presents research conducted at the convergence of two projects: the first a survey, inventory, and assessment of historic sites located within the boundaries of the Finger Lakes National Forest, a small national forest located in central New York; the second a pedagogical experiment conducted in the spring of 1998, the goal of which was to assess how a rather typical CRM project could be used to train graduate students in archaeology in manipulating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to control and interpret archaeological data. This convergence resulted in the construction of a GIS-based data management system for historic-period cultural resources in the Finger Lakes National Forest. The final product of this project is an integrated GIS database that can now be used by the Forest Service to manage data concerning the historic sites so far identified in the Finger Lakes National Forest. This volume describes how this was accomplished and suggests how GIS can be used by historical archaeologists to control and interpret data on a regional scale. This volume is organized to demonstrate how a regional archaeological GIS database was constructed and how the database was used to interpret the historical and archaeological record of the abandoned farmstead community once located on Burnt Hill, the southern extent of the Hector Backbone, a ridge located within the Finger Lakes National Forest. Following an introduction outlining the project and defining what CIS is and how it was used in this project, Chapter 2 by Patrick Heaton presents an overview of the Euroamerican settlement history of the Hector Backbone. Heaton follows this presentation in Chapter 3 with an account of how archival materials were used to interpret the changing nature of the agricultural political economy of rural New York in the 19th and early-20th centuries. In Chapter 4, Mark Smith and James Boyle use archaeological evidence to analyze the layout of farmsteads in the Burnt Hill Study Area. Chapter 5, by Karen Wehner and Karen Holmberg, describes the various ways historic map data were used to analyze change in the rural settlement pattern of the Burnt Hill Study Area. In Chapter 6, Janet Six, Patrick Heaton, Susan Malin-Boyce, and James Delle analyze the artifacts recovered during the surface collections of sites located in project area. The final substantive chapter, by Thomas Cuddy, explores how one of ArcView's modules, the Spatial Analyst, can be used to help interpret various kinds of archaeological data. The appendix, by Tom Cuddy, discusses the "how-to" element of the project, introducing those elements of ArcView integrated into our project and using our example to suggest guidelines on how to create a CIS project in ArcView. One goal of the appendix is to familiarize readers with GIS and ArcView terminology as well as the various elements of the application discussed throughout the volume.