Kathleen Settle


Areas of interest

Archaeological Field Methods


  • MA: Heritage Resource Management
  • BA: University of Indianapolis 2010
  • Scientific Diver with Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), 2010

MA Theses in HRM: Kathleen Settle, 2019

Vacuum Truck Excavation as a New and Effective Technique in Urban Archaeology; an In-depth Assessment and Comparison against Traditional Methodology


Dr. Jon Driver, Professor, Senior Supervisor
Dr. Ross Jamieson, Associate Professor, Supervisor
Dr. Michael Wilson, Faculty Emeritus, Douglas College, External Examiner
Dr. David Burley, Professor, Chair


Archaeological investigations were undertaken at multiple locations throughout Indianapolis as part of a large, high-profile cultural resource management project. One section of this project focused on the remains of an early twentieth century neighborhood, currently covered by an urban park. As part of the archaeological investigations conducted within the park, archaeologists experimented with the use of a vacuum truck, which uses compressed air to excavate sediments. The results of the vacuum truck excavation were compared with traditional excavation methods. The vacuum truck was able to excavate more deeply in a small surface area than possible with traditional methods, allowing archaeologists to see beneath dense layers of urban fill. Excavation with the vacuum truck was found to be faster and cheaper than traditional methods. Artifact recovery was consistent with traditional methods, though resulted in slightly less artifact damage. It is recommended that this excavation method be utilized in urban archaeology settings.

Keywords: archaeological field methods; cultural resource management; historical archaeology; Indianapolis; urban archaeology; vacuum truck excavation