Thesis Defences

Degree of Masters of Art, MA

Christian Meier

Thursday, 23 April 2020 at 9:00am

ONLINE  (please contact if you would like to attend)

Indigenous Involvement in the Heritage Resource Management Industry in Southern Ontario: Conversations with Three Nations


In southern Ontario, heritage preservation and protection are mandated under provincial provisions with little involvement of Indigenous nations whose heritage represents the majority of archaeological excavations in the heritage resource industry. This study identifies and seeks solutions to Indigenous concerns about heritage control and archaeological mitigation practices, including indigenous positions in the heritage resource management industry. Interviews were conducted with representatives from three Indigenous nations in southern Ontario: (1) the Anishinabek; 2) the Haudenosaunee; and 3) the Huronne-Wendat. Interview analysis was conducted using NVivo analysis software to transcribe and compartmentalize interview data allowing for an in-depth analysis of the semi-structured interviews. Participant’s responses contributed to developing a set of recommendations that include full inclusion in archaeological assessments in southern Ontario through the implementation of Indigenous-oriented approaches based on relationship building between archaeologists and indigenous nations.

Keywords:   Indigenous Involvement; Heritage Resource Management; Archaeological legislation

Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, (PhD)

Luisa Marinho

Friday, 6 March 2020 at 9:30am

Bennett Library 2020

The relationship between fracture morphology and bone biomechanics:
A study of changes occurring in juvenile porcine ribs over the early postmortem interval


Forensic anthropologists are often faced with the challenge of determining fracture timing based on bone features, usually discussing it in terms of a “fresh” versus “dry” bone response. Yet it is still unclear how long into the postmortem period bone can retain its fresh characteristics, particularly juvenile rib bone.

Juvenile porcine ribs were used to examine 1) changes in the biomechanical properties of bone in response to localized load, and 2) changes in the morphology of the resulting fractures over the early postmortem interval (PMI). Two macroenvironments (subaerial and burial) were recreated in a greenhouse. Samples were placed on the surface of soil filled containers and distinct samples were buried in the same containers, with a total of 16 containers being studied over 12 months. Samples were collected weekly for the first 4 weeks, the subsequent two were collected 2-weeks apart, and the remaining 4-weeks apart. Individual ribs 8-11 were selected from the subaerial (n=146) and the burial (n=134) environments and fractured experimentally. Six biomechanical parameters were collected from each test and median values were obtained for each sample. Each fracture was then examined for eight morphology characteristics and frequencies were calculated for each sample.

In the subaerial samples, multiple regression analysis showed that displacement at peak force, displacement at failure and failure stiffness were significantly associated with the PMI. Type of fracture, presence of plastic deformation and presence of cortical peeling were also significantly associated with the PMI. In the buried samples, multiple regression analysis showed no significant association between bone biomechanics and the PMI, and only a moderate association was found between the PMI and fracture morphology, specifically in the type of fracture, fracture surface and presence fiber pullout.

Although a transition from “fresh” to “drier” bone was apparent in the subaerial samples, a persistence of typical “fresh” bone response over the year-long PMI was evident in the buried environment. Accurate timing assessment of juvenile rib fractures is thus likely to be compromised from the analysis of bone features alone and further investigations are necessary for more confident and accurate rib trauma analysis, specifically when involving child remains.

Keywords:  Fracture timing; Perimortem; Stiffness; Plastic deformation; Fracture surface; Fiber pull-out

Degree of Masters of Art, MA

Breanne Taylor

Wednesday, 04 March, 2020 at 2:00pm

SWH 9152 (Archaeology Seminar Room)

Material Culture and the Social Dynamics of Residential Life at a Company Town:
Archaeological Investigations at the Fairfax Townsite (45PI918), Pierce County, Washington, USA


Fairfax, Washington (site 45PI918) was a thriving, company-owned mining and lumber town that operated between the late 1890s and 1941. The material assemblage and documentary record of Fairfax substantiate that, like most company towns in the western United States, the place was an ethnically diverse, male-dominated, paternalistic, and isolated settlement shaped by the social dynamism of residents and their access to opportunity and to the material world. Initial archaeological investigations at Fairfax reflect the everyday lives of working people in a western Washington industrial town. This thesis attempts to identify the ways in which residents utilized and connected to the material world and how concepts of community and division based on race, ethnicity, gender, and class are visible in the documentary and material record. At the intersection of these constructs lies a story untold about the people of Fairfax and what they left behind.

Keywords:  Historical Archaeology, Coal Mining Towns, Immigration, Labor Archaeology, Western Washington, Carbon River Canyon, Class, Gender, Race