Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

David G. Anderson

Committee Members

Kandace Hollenbach, Anneke Janzen


Large U.S. military installations, such as Fort Polk military reservation in south-central Louisiana, have for decades been the sites of cultural resource management (CRM) investigations, primarily due to the corpus of federal legislation developed to protect archaeological resources. These projects have yielded massive amounts of material and geospatial data and allowed researchers to develop sophisticated methodologies for analyzing site distribution, lithic tool manufacture, and many other avenues of inquiry. However, the cultural chronology represented on Fort Polk is still not well understood, and as a result assignation of National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)significance to sites on Fort Polk has to date hinged on the presence of identifiable ‘cultural features’. Bigger sites do not necessarily yield higher artifact densities at Fort Polk; artifact diversity, however, is closely linked to assemblage size. One cannot extrapolate a site's ‘true’ artifact density or diversity from a small sample size without fully testing the site. This is not only time consuming and expensive, but also detrimental to the preservationist ethic of CRM.

My thesis will seek to address this two-fold issue by manipulating extant databases containing information about artifacts recovered from Fort Polk. By compiling data concerning any test unit from any site on Fort Polk that yielded two or more diagnostic artifacts, a searchable spreadsheet has been created that allows for an installation-wide statistical analysis of the frequencies of a given diagnostic artifact’s ‘relative stratigraphy’ in relation to one or more other diagnostics. If a meaningful spatial or matrical relationship between one or more diagnostic types that holds across the installation can be demonstrated, a more precise understanding of the cultural chronology of Fort Polk, as well as the character of a given cultural group’s exploitation of the Fort Polk area, could be better understood. Such an understanding would also ramify throughout all proceeding cultural resource management (CRM) projects on the installation, allowing for more accurate and efficient interpretations of a site and subsequent assignation of NRHP significance.

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