Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
C. Riley Augé
Kelly Dixon, C. Riley Augé, Lila Fishman, Giles Thelen
phytoarchaeology, surface vegetation, archaeology, archaeological documentation, anthropogenic vegetation, reflexivity
University of Montana
Archaeological Anthropology | Continental Philosophy | Epistemology | Nature and Society Relations | Philosophy of Science | Physical and Environmental Geography | Place and Environment | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Theory and Criticism | Theory, Knowledge and Science
Surface vegetation at archaeological sites is a resource overlooked in cultural resource management. Drawing upon comparative documentary surveys of site forms and human surveys of 161 archaeologists in 12 U.S. states, this thesis explores why surface vegetation offers archaeological data potential; how archaeological documentation is an artifact of archaeologists, shaped by various subjectivities; and how improvements can be made for vegetal description in cultural inventory site forms. The surveys offer a critique on how the site form records are a product of disciplinary training oversights, differing work background experience, cultural bias, limitations in botanical knowledge, regional differences in U.S. archaeological practice, ocularcentrism, a lack of thorough discussion of the nature of what constitutes vegetal anthropogenism, and thus what constitutes relevance to archaeological study. By presenting the reader with an introduction to phytoarchaeology, solutions to documenting site vegetation, and an awareness of the need to understand documentary subjectivities, this study takes steps toward improving what the archaeologist can learn about the human past through anthropogenic surface vegetation and the implications of how archaeological documentation as an artifact of archaeologists.
Harris, John S., "The Sylvan Blindspot: The Archaeological Value of Surface Vegetation and a Critique of its Documentation" (2018). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11214.
Archaeological Anthropology Commons, Continental Philosophy Commons, Epistemology Commons, Nature and Society Relations Commons, Philosophy of Science Commons, Physical and Environmental Geography Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons, Theory and Criticism Commons, Theory, Knowledge and Science Commons
© Copyright 2018 John S. Harris