Oneota settlement patterns in northwest Iowa: site catchment analysis and predictive modeling using geographic information systems

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2001-01-01
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Benton, Charles
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Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology seeks to teach students what it means to be human by examining the four sub-disciplines of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. This prepares students for work in academia, research, or with government agencies, development organizations, museums, or private businesses and corporations.

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The Department of Anthropology was formed in 1991 as a result of the division of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

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1991-present

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Geographic information systems (GIS) software was utilized in the analysis of the settlement patterns of Oneota sites in northwest Iowa along the Little Sioux River and Big Sioux River. Site catchment analysis was performed for each site utilizing a cost distance algorithm to calculate a two hour catchment to assess whether or not sufficient resources would have been found in the catchment area. Resources thought to be of particular importance to Oneota groups include permanent water sources, arable land for cultivation, and sufficient quantities of wild plants and large game animals. These resources and other variables such as elevation, slope aspect, and slope were then compared between known sites and non-sites using statistical measures to create a predictive model of the Little Sioux Valley to determine areas that have high potential to contain Oneota sites. Ultimately based upon these analyses, it is argued that Oneota groups settled in areas to take advantage of multiple vegetation zones and well drained soils suitable for both habitation and for cultivation of crops. These conclusions suggest that the reliance upon bison in the subsistence economy and influence in determining site location may not be as important as originally thought. Other factors such as settlement shifts, cultural influences on settlement patterns, and the possible effect of climate shifts had upon Oneota lifeways, subsistence, and settlement patterns are also discussed.

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Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2001