American University
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Spatial data analysis of artifacts redeposited by coastal erosion: A case study of McFaddin Beach, Texas

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posted on 2023-09-06, 02:59 authored by Melanie Jean Stright

This study was undertaken to test the proposition that significant archaeological information can be extracted from a secondary deposit of artifacts found along a rapidly eroding coastline. The study area is McFaddin Beach, a 32-kilometer-long stretch of shoreline along the southeast coast of Texas. The artifacts included in the study were collected over a period of 26 years by five local collectors who kept detailed maps and records of each artifact find. The diagnostic artifacts in the study collection represent all cultural periods from Paleoindian to Historic. The method of analysis used a Geographic Information System, ARC/INFO, to synthesize information on the paleogeography of the coastal area where the lag deposit of artifacts was found and to conduct spatial analysis of the individual artifacts and their attributes. The results of the study indicate that even though the primary archaeological context of the artifacts has been destroyed, by reconstructing the larger paleogeographic context of the eroded sites and studying the attributes and spatial distribution of the artifacts in the lag deposit, some important archaeological conclusions can be drawn. These conclusions include information on how the prehistoric human populations of the McFaddin Beach area shifted through time and why, the general activities and the lithic procurement strategies of these populations, and the possible locations of the original archaeological sites from which the artifacts were eroded.



American University




Ph.D. American University 1999.


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Part of thesis digitization project, awaiting processing.

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