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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


This dissertation explores how practices and interactions of actors at different scales structure social networks and lead to the emergence of social complexity in middle range societies. To investigate this process, I apply a complex adaptive systems approach and a methodology that combines network science with analytical tools from economics to the three sub-periods of the Prehistoric Bronze Age (The Philia Phase, PreBA 1 and PreBA 2) on Cyprus, a transformational period marked by social and economic changes evident in the material record. Using proxy data representative of three kinds of social interactions or facets of social complexity, the control …

Contributors
Swantek, Laura Anne, Barton, C. Michael, Spielmann, Katherine, et al.
Created Date
2017

The South African Middle Stone Age (MSA), spanning the Middle to Late Pleistocene (Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 8-3) witnessed major climatic and environmental change and dramatic change in forager technological organization including lithic raw material selection. Homo sapiens emerged during the MSA and had to make decisions about how to organize technology to cope with environmental stressors, including lithic raw material selection, which can effect tool production and application, and mobility. This project studied the role and importance of lithic raw materials in the technological organization of foragers by focusing on why lithic raw material selection sometimes changed when the …

Contributors
Oestmo, Simen, Marean, Curtis W, Barton, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2017

This project examines the social and economic factors that contributed to the development of a specialist-based economy among the Phoenix Basin Hohokam. In the Hohokam case, widespread dependence on the products of a few concentrated pottery producers developed in the absence of political centralization or hierarchical social arrangements. The factors that promoted intensified pottery production, therefore, are the keys to addressing how economic systems can expand in small-scale and middle-range societies. This dissertation constructs a multi-factor model that explores changes to the organization of decorated pottery production during a substantial portion of the pre-Classic period (AD 700 - AD 1020). …

Contributors
Kelly, Sophia Elizabeth, Abbott, David R., Darling, J. Andrew, et al.
Created Date
2013

This research uses Peircean Semiotics to model the evolution of symbolic behavior in the human lineage and the potential material correlates of this evolutionary process in the archaeological record. The semiotic model states the capacity for symbolic behavior developed in two distinct stages. Emergent capacities are characterized by the sporadic use of non-symbolic and symbolic material culture that affects information exchange between individuals. Symbolic exchange will be rare. Mobilized capacities are defined by the constant use of non-symbolic and symbolic objects that affect both interpersonal and group-level information exchange. Symbolic behavior will be obligatory and widespread. The model was tested …

Contributors
Culley, Elisabeth Vasser, Clark, Geoffrey A, Barton, C. Michael, et al.
Created Date
2016

Understanding the resilience of water management systems is critical for the continued existence and growth of communities today, in urban and rural contexts alike. In recent years, many studies have evaluated long-term human-environmental interactions related to water management across the world, highlighting both resilient systems and those that eventually succumb to their vulnerabilities. To understand the multitude of factors impacting resilience, scholars often use the concept of adaptive capacity. Adaptive capacity is the ability of actors in a system to make adaptations in anticipation of and in response to change to minimize potential negative impacts. In this three-paper dissertation, I …

Contributors
Klassen, Sarah Elizabeth, Nelson, Ben, Redman, Charles, et al.
Created Date
2018

Social identities are fundamental to the way individuals and groups define themselves. Archaeological approaches to social identities in the Andes emphasize the importance of group identities such as ethnicity and community identity, but studies of gender and age identities are still uncommon. In this dissertation, I build on these earlier approaches to Andean social identities and consider community, gender, and age identities at the site of Chiribaya Alta using case studies. The coastal Ilo Chiribaya polity is associated with the Andean Late Intermediate Period in the lower Osmore drainage of southern Peru. Previous analyses indicate that Chiribaya sites in this …

Contributors
Schach, Emily Ann, Buikstra, Jane E, Knudson, Kelly J, et al.
Created Date
2019

The recent emergence of global ‘megafires’ has made it imperative to better understand the role of humans in altering the size, distribution, and seasonality of fires. The dynamic relationship between humans and fire is not a recent phenomenon; rather, fire has deep roots in our biological and cultural evolution. Because of its long-term perspective, archaeology is uniquely positioned to investigate the social and ecological drivers behind anthropogenic fire. However, the field faces challenges in creating solution-oriented research for managing fire in the future. In this dissertation, I originate new methods and approaches to archaeological data that enable us to interpret …

Contributors
Snitker, Grant, Barton, Michael, Morehart, Christopher, et al.
Created Date
2019

This dissertation research investigates both spatial and temporal aspects of Bronze Age land use and land cover in the Eastern Mediterranean using botanical macrofossils of charcoal and charred seeds as sources of proxy data. Comparisons through time and over space using seed and charcoal densities, seed to charcoal ratios, and seed and charcoal identifications provide a comprehensive view of island vs. mainland vegetative trajectories through the critical 1000 year time period from 2500 BC to 1500 BC of both climatic fluctuation and significant anthropogenic forces. This research focuses particularly on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus during this crucial interface of …

Contributors
Klinge, Joanna Marie, Fall, Patricia L, Falconer, Steven E, et al.
Created Date
2013

Migrations, past and present, fundamentally influence human interaction, community building, and social evolution. Studies of contemporary migrations demonstrate that the form and intensity of interaction migrants maintain between homeland and host communities shape social dynamics, innovations, and identities. This dissertation applies a contemporary theoretical framework and biogeochemical analyses to elucidate the scale, processes, and impacts of migration in the hinterland of the pre-Hispanic Tiwanaku polity (ca. AD 500-1100). Social diversity is examined by reconstructing the migration histories and dietary choices of individuals interred at the Tiwanaku-affiliated site of Omo M10 in the Moquegua Valley of southern Peru. Radiogenic strontium and …

Contributors
Dahlstedt, Allisen Cecelia, Knudson, Kelly J, Buikstra, Jane E, et al.
Created Date
2019

Foodways in societies at every social scale are linked in complex ways to processes of social change. This dissertation explores the interrelationship between foodways and processes of rapid social transformation. Drawing on a wide range of archaeological and ethnographic data from the Cibola region, I examine the role of foodways in processes of population aggregation and community formation and address how changes in the scale and diversity of social life interacted with the scale and organization of food production and consumption practices. To address the interrelationships between foodways and social transformations, I employ a conceptual framework focused on two social …

Contributors
Oas, Sarah Elizabeth, Hegmon, Michelle, Kintigh, Keith W., et al.
Created Date
2019

This dissertation focuses on the diversity inherent to the process of social community construction. Building upon previous archaeological and bioarchaeological studies of community identities, the current project emphasizes the need for consideration of the impact of diversity on community identity formation in the past and illustrates the utility of a bioarchaeological approach for undertaking this task. Three specific aspects of community formation are addressed: (1) the relationship between symbolic community boundaries and geographic space, (2) the influence of diverse discourses of intra-community sub-groups on community formation, and (3) the negotiation of community boundaries by outsiders. To investigate these aspects of …

Contributors
Marsteller, Sara Jane, Knudson, Kelly J, Buikstra, Jane E, et al.
Created Date
2015

This dissertation research employs biological distance and mortuary analyses in tandem with historical sources to investigate the degree to which conversion, as opposed to migration, contributed to the spread of Islam in southern Iberia. The dynamics of the 8th century conquest of Iberia by Muslim Arab and Berber forces from North Africa, and the subsequent 800-year period of religious, political, and social change, remain contested and poorly understood. Migration of Islamic peoples to the peninsula once was invoked as the primary vehicle of Islamic influence, but religious conversion, whether true or nominal, increasingly is regarded as a key component of …

Contributors
Bolhofner, Katelyn Louise, Buikstra, Jane E., Stojanowski, Christopher, et al.
Created Date
2017

This dissertation investigates socio-economic strategies adopted by a small craftworking community situated on the edge of one of the earliest, largest and most complex cities in Mesoamerica. The focus of investigation is San Jose 520, a hamlet located on the southeastern margin of Teotihuacan and occupied primarily during the Tlamimilolpa and Xolalpan phases (ca. A.D. 200-500). Its inhabitants were potters of low socio-economic status living in small, architecturally simple residential structures. The investigation complements much more numerous studies of higher-status groups residing in Teotihuacan's famous apartment compounds, much larger and architecturally more formal structures clustered primarily within built-up parts of …

Contributors
Cabrera Cortés, Mercedes Oralia, Stark, Barbara L., Cowgill, George L., et al.
Created Date
2011

This research focuses upon the intersection of social complexity and leadership among commoners in complex societies as expressed through mortuary ritual. I study how ideology, materialized through treatment of the deceased body, was a potential source of power among commoners in ancient Maya society and how this materialization changed through time. Mortuary data are drawn from mid-level settlements of the Belize River Valley, located in western Belize within the eastern Maya lowlands. The primary research question addresses whether mid-level leaders in the Belize River Valley targeted certain human bodies for ancestral veneration through tomb re-entry and ritual interaction with skeletal …

Contributors
Novotny, Anna, Buikstra, Jane E, Carr, Christopher, et al.
Created Date
2015

Bioarchaeologists often use dental data and spatial analysis of cemeteries to infer the biological and social structure of ancient communities. This approach is commonly referred to as biological distance (“biodistance”) analysis. While permanent crown data feature prominently in these efforts, few studies have verified the accuracy of biodistance methods for recognizing child relatives using deciduous teeth. Thus, as subadults comprise an essential demographic subset of mortuary assemblages, deciduous phenotypes may represent a critical but underutilized source of information on the underlying genetic structure of past populations. The goal of the dissertation is to​ quantitatively analyze the developmental program underlying deciduous …

Contributors
Paul, Kathleen Siobhan, Stojanowski, Christopher M., Buikstra, Jane E., et al.
Created Date
2017

This project investigates social mobility in premodern states through a contextualized program of isotopic research at the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Due to the lack of a concrete methodology that can be used to recover information concerning rates of social mobility from archaeological remains, many traditional archaeological models either ignore social mobility or assume that boundaries between socioeconomic strata within archaic states were largely impermeable. In this research, I develop a new methodological approach to the identification of socially mobile individuals in the archaeological record based on changes in the diet across the lifecourse that can be detected through …

Contributors
Nado, Kristin, Buikstra, Jane E, Knudson, Kelly J, et al.
Created Date
2017

There has been debate and uncertainty on two important issues in the Basin of Mexico: the formation of Epiclassic city-states following Teotihuacan state collapse (ca. A.D. 650), and the nature of the subsequent Early Postclassic Tula state expansion. I evaluate the Basin as a case of regeneration of socio-political complexity using stylistic and compositional pottery analysis to examine patterns of interaction from the Epiclassic (ca. A.D. 600/650-850) through the Early Postclassic (ca. A.D. 850-1150). I selected representative specimens of temporally diagnostic pottery from the three large settlement clusters in the northwestern Basin (Tula and the Zumpango region), the northeastern Basin …

Contributors
Crider, Destiny Lynn, Cowgill, George L, Simon, Arleyn W, et al.
Created Date
2011

Many models of colonial interaction are build from cases of European colonialism among Native American and African peoples, and, as a result, they are often ill-suited to account for state expansion and decline in non-Western contexts. This dissertation investigates social organization and intraregional interaction in a non-western colonial context to broaden understanding of colonial interaction in diverse sociocultural settings. Drawing on social identity theory, population genetics, and social network analysis, patterns of social organization at the margins of the expansive pre-Hispanic Tiwanaku state (ca. AD 500-1100) are examined. According to the dual diaspora model of Tiwanaku colonial organization in the …

Contributors
Johnson, Kent M., Buikstra, Jane E, Stojanowski, Christopher M, et al.
Created Date
2016

In anthropological models of social organization, kinship is perceived to be fundamental to social structure. This project aimed to understand how individuals buried in neighborhoods or patio groups were affiliated, by considering multiple possibilities of fictive and biological kinship, short or long-term co-residence, and long-distance kin affiliation. The social organization of the ancient Maya urban center of Copan, Honduras during the Late Classic (AD 600-822) period was evaluated through analysis of the human skeletal remains drawn from the largest collection yet recovered in Mesoamerica (n=1200). The research question was: What are the roles that kinship (biological or fictive) and co-residence …

Contributors
Miller, Katherine Anne, Buikstra, Jane E, Bell, Ellen E, et al.
Created Date
2015

My dissertation contributes to a body of knowledge useful for understanding the evolution of subsistence economies based on agriculture from those based on hunting and gathering, as well as the development of formal rules and norms of territorial ownership in hunter-gatherer societies. My research specifically combines simple formal and conceptual models with the empirical analysis of large ethnographic and environmental data sets to study feedback processes in coupled forager-resource systems. I use the formal and conceptual models of forager-resource systems as tools that aid in the development of two alternative arguments that may explain the adoption of food production and …

Contributors
Freeman, Jacob C., Anderies, John M, Nelson, Margaret C, et al.
Created Date
2014