Ground penetrating radar applied : a model for quantifying interpretation of human burials in historical contexts

by Stephen Edward Daniel

Institution: University of British Columbia
Department: Anthropology
Degree: MA- MA
Year: 2015
Record ID: 2059567
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/52652


This thesis explores the applied use of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology in conducting comprehensive burial survey work in historic period, post-contact cemeteries. These results are based on research conducted from 2008 to 2011 within several First Nations post-contact cemeteries along with work done in other less-defined burial sites in Southwestern British Columbia. My research has been informed by other types of GPR surveys conducted during that period and through 2015, that have added experience in GPR project management, data collection, trace signal analysis, interpretation and reporting. I have developed a recursive, interpretive model that creates a simple, direct and more objective process for evaluating any single or group of potential burial locations situated in a variety of physical contexts. The basic analysis is done by linking GPR signal results obtained from over 300 cases with either prior historical or field-work based knowledge of related ground surface, physical, ethnographic and documentary evidence. The model developed here quantifies the interpretative analysis of these data and develops what I refer to as a Burial Confidence Index (BCI) from a set of parameters or variables that reflects the full extent of our knowledge of any specific location. This allows for testing and statistical comparison of known versus previously unknown locations where GPR evidence is recovered. Other important aspects of GPR-related work in the community are also addressed in brief to provide more complete coverage of the many contexts involved, including professional, academic and social considerations.