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Systematic Approach to Identifying Deeply Buried Archeological Deposits
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    Traditional methods used to discover archeological sites include pedestrian surface surveys and relatively shallow hand-dug shovel or soil core testing. While these methods are appropriate for locating surface and near-surface sites on ridges, hilltops, and on the surface of valley floors, they do not adequately identify archeological remains buried in stream valleys (alluvial terraces, floodplains, fans and valley margin walls). These cultural deposits are often deeply buried and difficult to detect without testing using backhoes and mechanical cores. Central Great Plains research involving geomorphology combined with archeology (or geoarcheology) has succeeded in amassing a large volume of data that can be used to make informed predictions about what landform contexts may host these important deeply buried (yet difficult to locate) archeological resources. The proposed project is designed to systematically gather this disparate information, create a digital repository of it, and distill the data in a Geographic Information System (GIS) format. For cultural resource specialists involved in Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) project planning and development, this will greatly enhance the ability to predict where these types of resources may or may not occur. As a result planners and cultural resource specialists will be in a better position to determine if additional targeted investigations are necessary or if a project area is likely to be free of deeply buried sites. The proposed project will develop a GIS-based data repository of all Nebraska (and relevant immediately adjacent portions of surrounding states) geoarcheological information including: published and unpublished reports or portions of reports, bibliographies, stratigraphic profiles, radiocarbon ages, maps, notes, and photographs. These data will be linked to specific LSAs in specific stream valleys and drainage basins. The GIS will allow us to visualize the data in the form of maps and diagrams and reveal temporal and spatial patterns of landscape evolution in drainage basins. Moreover, the GIS will allow users to look at the data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

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