Master of Science (MS)
Geography and Anthropology
Hurricane Katrina had a significant impact on the number and distribution of known archaeological sites in New Orleans, Louisiana. Due to government mandated investigation in heavily damaged areas, many archaeological sites were recorded in geographic locations where there were previously none recorded. This thesis examined the spatial distribution of sites in the context of archaeological predictive modeling to determine the impact of disaster recovery on site location. In addition, decision making processes that led to the discovery of sites were examined to determine how they contributed to spatial bias in the distribution of sites recognized by the Louisiana Division of Archaeology. Sites were categorized based on the types of investigations that led to their discovery: academic research, development or disaster recovery. They were then subjected to spatial and statistical analysis methods to demonstrate geographic differences between categories. Differences in mean elevation and distance to water between site categories were found to be statistically significant. Spatial clusters were identified that were unique to each site category indicating that they were also spatially different. This study indicated that clusters of sites observed within the known site distribution were the result of biased survey methods rather than an accurate representation of the varying density of archaeological deposits throughout New Orleans. As a result, the use of known sites for predictive modeling in New Orleans is highly problematic and needs to be evaluated further. A different conceptual model of New Orleans archaeology was then proposed that considers the city as a single site that can be modeled as having varying degrees of archaeological sensitivity across geographic space.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.
Harlan, David Patrick, "Changing perceptions of archaeology in post-Katrina New Orleans: a geographic information perspective" (2010). LSU Master's Theses. 2609.