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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 2020


People come together and form communities in cities across the world but the processes behind community formation are not well understood. Some researchers theorize that having populations with similar characteristics is important; others argue that the existence of public spaces for interaction is key. I use archaeological data collected over six seasons of field work and archival data from The Granada Relocation Center (Amache) National Historic Landmark, a World War II (WWII) Japanese American incarceration center in Southeastern Colorado, to demonstrate the role that participation in previous social communities has on the formation of new social networks. The concept of …

Contributors
Kamp-Whittaker, April Elizabeth, Smith, Michael E., BurnSilver, Shauna, et al.
Created Date
2020

Exchange is fundamental to the establishment and maintenance of social institutions and political economies in all scales of societies. While today people rapidly exchange goods and information over great distances, in the past, long-distance exchange necessitated the mobilization of vast networks of interaction with substantial transport costs. Objects traded over long distances were often valuable and challenging to obtain, granting them multifaceted significance that is difficult to understand using traditional archaeological approaches. This research examines human interactions with scarlet macaws (Ara macao) in the United States (U.S.) Southwest and Mexican Northwest (SW/NW) between 900 and 1450 CE. This period saw …

Contributors
Schwartz, Christopher Warren, Nelson, Ben A, Knudson, Kelly J, et al.
Created Date
2020

What causes social systems to resist change? Studies of the emergence of social complexity in archaeology have focused primarily on drivers of change with much less emphasis on drivers of stability. Social stability, or the persistence of social systems, is an essential feature without which human society is not possible. By combining quantitative modeling (Exponential Random Graph Modeling) and the comparative archaeological record where the social system is represented by networks of relations between settlements, this research tests several hypotheses about social and geographic drivers of social stability with an explicit focus on a better understanding of contexts and processes …

Contributors
Cegielski, Wendy Hope, Barton, Michael, Kintigh, Keith, et al.
Created Date
2020

The primary focus of this research is the poorly understood relationship between water insufficiency and broad-scale social change, in the semi-arid lower Salt River Valley, in central Arizona. The overarching research question guiding this research is if water insufficiency could have prompted sociopolitical change among the Hohokam. Specifically, the research investigates if long-term water deficits were a catalyst for the two most consequential transformations in Hohokam history – the Preclassic/Classic transition (A.D. 1070-1100/1150) and the early to late Classic period transition (ca. A.D. 1300). This research used extensive historical aerial photographs and cultural resource management excavation data to complete the …

Contributors
Caseldine, Christopher Robert, Abbott, David R., Carr, Christopher G., et al.
Created Date
2020

Archaeologists have long contended that large-scale human migrations played an essential role in the cultural development of pre-Hispanic central Mexico. During the Epiclassic period (600-900 CE), migration is implicated in the appearance of new forms of material culture, sociopolitical disruptions, and the emergence of new regional polities. Sweeping social changes accompanied these developments, including demographic reorganization and increased levels of violence. Research across the social sciences finds that violence directed at individuals perceived as categorically distinct also typically increases during such periods of socio-political upheaval. This dissertation investigates identity-based violence in the Epiclassic Basin of Mexico to consider how diverse …

Contributors
Pacheco-Forés, Sofía Isabel, Buikstra, Jane E., Knudson, Kelly J., et al.
Created Date
2020

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

I propose a new approach for the analysis of social transformations within the context of colonialism. Drawing on concepts used by historical sociologists, combined with insights from historians and archaeologists, I forge a synthesis of relational mechanisms that concatenated into processes of categorical change. Within the social sciences, mechanisms are formally defined as specific classes of events or social interactions that are causally linked and tend to repeat under specific conditions, potentially resulting in widespread social transformations. Examples of mechanisms include formal inscription through spatial segregation and adjustments in individual position through socioeconomic mobility. For New Spain, historians have identified …

Contributors
Eschbach, Krista, Stark, Barbara L, Smith, Michael E, et al.
Created Date
2019

Population growth, social interaction, and environmental variability are interrelated facets of the same complex system. Tracing the flow of food, water, information, and energy within these social-ecological systems is essential for understanding their long-term behavior. Leveraging an archaeological perspective of how past societies coevolved with their natural environments will be critical to anticipating the impact of impending climate change on farming communities in the developing world. However, there is currently a lack of formal, quantitative theory rooted in first principles of human behavior that can predict the empirical regularities of the archaeological record in semiarid regions. Through a series of …

Contributors
Gauthier, Nicolas, Barton, C Michael, Anderies, John M, et al.
Created Date
2019

There is an ongoing debate around the extent that anthropogenic processes influence both plant species distribution dynamics and plant biodiversity patterns. Past human food use may leave a strong legacy on not only the extent that food plants are dispersed and fill their potential geographic ranges, but also on food plant species richness in areas that have been densely populated by humans through time. The persistent legacy of plant domestication on contemporary species composition has been suggested to be significant in some regions. However, little is known about the effects that past human food use has had on the biogeography …

Contributors
Flower, Carolyn, Blonder, Benjamin, Hodgson, Wendy, et al.
Created Date
2019

Two of the defining behaviors associated with the hominin lineage are an increased reliance on tool use and the routine incorporation of animal tissue in the diet. These adaptations have been linked to numerous downstream consequences including key physiological adaptations as well as social and cognitive effects associated with modern humans. Thus, a critical issue in human evolution is how to determine when hominins began incorporating significant amounts of meat into their diets. Bone surface modifications (BSM) have long been recognized as a powerful inferential tool in identifying the differential involvement of actors responsible for altering assemblages of bone recovered …

Contributors
Harris, Jacob A, Marean, Curtis W, Hill, Kim, et al.
Created Date
2019

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

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

Federal legislation prioritizes the repatriation of culturally unidentifiable human remains to federally-recognized Indian tribes that are linked geographically to the region from which the remains were removed. Such linkages are typically based on a Eurocentric notion of the exclusive use and occupancy of an area of land - a space-based approach to land use. Contemporary collaborations between anthropologists and indigenous communities suggest, however, that indigenous patterns of land use are better characterized as place-based and are therefore more complex and fluid than is reflected in current legislation. Despite these insights, space-based approaches remain common within archaeology. One example is the …

Contributors
Seidel, Andrew Colin, Carr, Christopher, Stojanowski, Christopher M, et al.
Created Date
2019

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

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

Unlike traditional frontier studies that treat the frontier as monolithic and focus on core-periphery interactions involving colonialism and acculturation, this dissertation seeks to characterize the internal social dynamics of frontier regions using the collective social identification framework. Concentrating on the intraregional and intrasite scales makes it possible to directly evaluate the bottom-up processes involved in the formation of collective social identities within frontier zones (i.e., sociopolitical development divorced from core-centric actions). Derived from social science research aimed at understanding the development of modern nation-states and social movements, the theoretical framework implemented in this research centers on the idea that sustained …

Contributors
Torvinen, Andrea, Nelson, Ben A, Abbott, David, et al.
Created Date
2018

The Egyptian New Kingdom city of Akhetaten (modern: Tell el-Amarna, el-Amarna, or simply Amarna) provides a unique opportunity to study ancient biocultural dynamics. It was a disembedded capital removed from the major power bases of Memphis and Thebes that was built, occupied, and abandoned within approximately 20 years (c. 1352–1336 BCE). This dissertation used the recently excavated Amarna South Tombs cemetery to test competing models for the development of disembedded capitals, such as the geographic origin of its migrants and its demographic structure in comparison to contrastive models for the establishment of settlements. The degree to which biological relatedness organized …

Contributors
Schaffer, William Charles, Buikstra, Jane E., Stojanowski, Christopher M., et al.
Created Date
2018

Coalescence is a distinctive process of village aggregation that creates larger, socially cohesive communities from smaller, scattered villages. This dissertation asks: how do individual and collective social relationships change throughout the process of coalescence, and how might these relationships contribute to the social cohesiveness of a coalescent community? Coalescent communities share characteristics that reveal the relationship between collective action and collective identities in their social dynamics. Collective identity is a shared sense of oneness among members of a group. It can be understood as the product of two processes: categorical and relational identification. Categorical identification is a shared association with …

Contributors
Striker, Sarah, Hegmon, Michelle, Michelaki, Kostalena, et al.
Created Date
2018

This dissertation research describes the hunting behavior of early modern humans through the analysis of vertebrate faunal remains from Contrebandiers Cave, Morocco. Contrebandiers Cave is located in the town of Témara and is roughly 250 meters from the current shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean. The cave was excavated in the 1950s and 1970s by l’Abbé Roche, and again starting in 2007 by Dibble and El Hajraoui with total station plotting of finds. Contrebandiers Cave contains Middle Stone Age (MSA) deposits dated to Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 5e, 5d and 5c, ~120,000 to ~96,000 years ago. The Later Stone Age (LSA) …

Contributors
Hallett, Emily Yuko, Marean, Curtis W, Reed, Kaye E, et al.
Created Date
2018

Mobility is an important aspect of the lives of religious individuals described by medieval texts in early and late medieval Ireland, and biogeochemical methods can be used to detect mobility in archaeological populations. Stories are recorded of monks and nuns traveling and founding monasteries across Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, and other areas of Europe. However, these texts rarely address the quotidian lives of average monks and nuns who lived in monastic communities. This dissertation seeks to understand if travel was a typical part of the experiences of religious and lay people in early and late medieval Ireland. It also aims …

Contributors
Alonzi, Elise, Knudson, Kelly, Hegmon, Michelle, et al.
Created Date
2018