Exploring land usage at Tannehill State Park: giving artifacts a context through watershed mapping
Archaeologists have identified dozens of sites across the landscape of Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, but few are thoroughly investigated, leaving a gap in current understanding of settlement patterns and land usage in prehistoric times. This project uses existing site information in conjunction with GIS processing to help expand knowledge of land use and site locations at the park. Digital elevation models are used to map watershed in the region with the goal of locating the original context of sites found in a secondary context. GIS hydrography tools make it possible to generate a detailed watershed map that shows exactly how water, as well as artifacts, move across the landscape. By mapping the distance, direction, and greatest accumulation of water flow, the potential original locations of artifacts should be detectable. This methodology shows great promise in early testing. This model can be adapted to be applicable in stream and river environments across the Southeast. Artifacts and collections found out of context in these environments can be traced back to possible origin sites. It holds the promise to greatly enhance our understanding of long term landscape usage, as well as human adaption within the landscape.