Thesis

Critical Technological Approaches in Heritage Research: Mapping Cultural Resources of the Black Butte River

Purpose of the Study: As we move into the digital age of mapping, the use of
 technologies such as GIS are becoming common place. Yet critical assessment of
 mapping practices and associated technologies is lacking. The idea of taking a critical
 technological approach to our spatial analysis and documentation identifies bias and
 limitations in how we interpret archaeological data. By critically evaluating the use of
 mapping in heritage research, a greater body of discourse can be developed and help
 future researchers to be more precise and objective in their use of these technologies.
 Procedure: Presented here is a case study of mapping cultural resources in the Black
 Butte River watershed to illuminate Native American settlement patterns. The case study
 is developed in two parts. First, I identify the existing themes in interpretations of Native
 American settlement patterns. Second, I provide a multi-scalar analysis that compares the
 narratives of these themes with their corresponding maps. For this analysis, density maps
 of known resources, organized by age identifiers, are key elements for interpreting
 settlement patterns in the watershed.
 Findings: Comparison between the existing narratives of Native American settlement
 patterns and the corresponding maps reveal discrepancies that tend to homogenize
 interpretations of Native American culture both across California and within smaller
 regions. Where specific themes of settlement are concerned, the resource density maps
 lend support to a well distributed occupation of the watershed as opposed to isolated
 distributions centered within a given region. This lends support to the idea of small
 polities of Native American communities distributed across the landscape.
 Conclusions: Critical analysis of mapping and mapping technologies help to uncover
 discrepancies between heritage narratives and the maps that represent those narratives. As mapping technologies become readily available through GIS applications and locational data is digitized, heritage researchers should be aware of the perspectives represented in their maps. Not only for the sake of heritage discourse, but also with the understanding that the maps we create can convey these perspectives to the public.

Purpose of the Study: As we move into the digital age of mapping, the use of technologies such as GIS are becoming common place. Yet critical assessment of mapping practices and associated technologies is lacking. The idea of taking a critical technological approach to our spatial analysis and documentation identifies bias and limitations in how we interpret archaeological data. By critically evaluating the use of mapping in heritage research, a greater body of discourse can be developed and help future researchers to be more precise and objective in their use of these technologies. Procedure: Presented here is a case study of mapping cultural resources in the Black Butte River watershed to illuminate Native American settlement patterns. The case study is developed in two parts. First, I identify the existing themes in interpretations of Native American settlement patterns. Second, I provide a multi-scalar analysis that compares the narratives of these themes with their corresponding maps. For this analysis, density maps of known resources, organized by age identifiers, are key elements for interpreting settlement patterns in the watershed. Findings: Comparison between the existing narratives of Native American settlement patterns and the corresponding maps reveal discrepancies that tend to homogenize interpretations of Native American culture both across California and within smaller regions. Where specific themes of settlement are concerned, the resource density maps lend support to a well distributed occupation of the watershed as opposed to isolated distributions centered within a given region. This lends support to the idea of small polities of Native American communities distributed across the landscape. Conclusions: Critical analysis of mapping and mapping technologies help to uncover discrepancies between heritage narratives and the maps that represent those narratives. As mapping technologies become readily available through GIS applications and locational data is digitized, heritage researchers should be aware of the perspectives represented in their maps. Not only for the sake of heritage discourse, but also with the understanding that the maps we create can convey these perspectives to the public.

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