Thursday, October 30, 2014

Special Topics in Archaeology Student Spotlight!!

GIS4990 Special Topics in GIS Archaeology, Dr. Scott Palumbo

Scythian Burial Mounds: Report and Publication

Lab description - In this module students ran a regression analysis and examined the output statistics. The final output combines landscape archaeology and recent theory with the project results for online publication. Students will also start thinking about their final project and consider new cases to pursue in the near future.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Run a regression analysis on your data
  • Interpret statistical results
  • Express your predictions statistically
  • Publish your data to ArcGIS online
  • Begin designing a landscape archaeology final project

The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Scythian Landscapes Report week lab assignment:

Shana Dooley 

About Name: Shana lives on a small sand spit in the Republic of the Marshall Islands; if you don’t know what that is, just picture sand, sand, and well more sand!  This dot of land is located west of Hawaii in the middle of a vast blue ocean.  Residing on an Army base, she works as an archaeologist for 2 of the islands which are both WWII National Battlefields.  Originally from the desert, Shana has made the best of island life taking up snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and sailing; all of the hobbies helped her expand the size of this dot of land considerably.  Shana is a member of the Archaeology tract and is interested in 3D mapping as she expands the skillset!  Welcome back to the spotlight Shana!

What we like: Shana's analyses represent the culmination of a three week landscape archaeology project. In this module, earthen mounds in central Russia are believed to represent the burial locations of the Scythian culture (roughly 8th century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D.). Students were required to determine if the size or patterning of the mounds was non-random. Over the course of two weeks, Shana noted associations between mound locations are environmental features like elevation, aspect and slope. She then used this information to run an Ordinary Least Squares Regression Model (or OLS) that compared the associations between randomly generated points and site locations to quantify the relationship between the mounds and the environmental factors. She also ran a "hotspot" analysis to identify areas where her model might be overly optimistic. Shana was chosen because she conducted these analyses with distinction and produced a clean and intelligible map layout that conveys this information.

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