Better management through measurement: Assessing the conditions of coastal archaeological sites using spatial technologies—applied to Blueskin Bay, New Zealand
The world’s coastlines are becoming increasingly volatile for archaeological sites. This instability can be primarily attributed to climate change and its associated influence on oceanic processes, which are aggravating already unfavourable conditions for the endurance of coastal sites. Alongside these adverse developments have been rapid improvements in the abilities of scientists to observe, measure, and model the effects of those impacts. For archaeologists, advances in computers and spatial technologies offer the capability of quickly and accurately recording real-world positions of archaeological features across large coastal landscapes. This digitised site information can be incorporated into monitoring projects and spatial analysis, ultimately providing opportunities for improved site management strategies. Although these capabilities have been available for some time, many coastal nations, including New Zealand, have failed to fully implement them widely into site surveys or site management. As such, this thesis presents a three-step approach for assessing the conditions of coastal archaeological sites through a synthesis of documentary research, an in-person site survey, and computer-based spatial analysis. This methodological approach is then applied to Blueskin Bay, a New Zealand-based case study area. Together, the three phases divulged a significant amount of information about the estuary including its past and present site conditions, as well as the trajectories of shoreline change (erosion and progradation), and the possible future impact of rising sea levels across site areas. In addition to the presentation and application of the assessment approach are discussions regarding site management in New Zealand, coastal archaeological site impacts, spatial technologies, and the efficacy and limitations of the presented approach.
Advisor: Walter, Richard
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Blueskin Bay; GIS; GPS; DSAS; LiDAR; Coastal Archaeology; Climate Change; Sea Level Rise; Erosion; ArchSite; Site Management; Spatial Technologies; Archaeological Site Conditions
Research Type: Thesis