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Site Surface Characteristics and Functional Inferences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Sarah H. Schlanger
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164
Janet D. Orcutt
Affiliation:
Directorate of Engineering and Housing, Environmental Management Office, Fort Hood, TX 76544

Abstract

With the rise in importance of the archaeological survey as a major data-recovery tool has come greater concern over methods for making inferences about site subsurface characteristics from surface materials. One growing area of concern is the identification of site function using surface features and artifact assemblages. Here we examine the relations among architectural site types (defined using surface features), modeled functional site types, and surface artifact assemblage characteristics. Analysis proceeded in three stages, each one built on the previous stage. In the first stage we used site type models to predict surface assemblage differences between types and then tested these predictions with the surface assemblages from surveyed sites grouped by architecture type. The procedures involved analysis of variance, difference-of-means tests, and discriminant analysis. In the second stage, we used discriminant analysis to create a classification function for predicting site type on the basis of artifact assemblages. In the third stage of the analysis, we investigated possible reasons for the uneven classification results. We conclude our analyses by presenting an example of functional change that affects the ability of the discriminant analysis to distinguish between two of the site types.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for American Archaeology 1986

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