Wednesday, April 18 • 8:00am - 8:30am
Drones in Archaeology: Applications of Drone Remote Sensing and Regional Ethnohistory to Understand a Prehistoric Mining Quarry

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule and see who's attending!

The diverse and complex geologic setting of Western Montana has resulted in rich deposits of the raw materials needed for prehistoric stone tool manufacturing. Cryptocrystalline cherts were of primary importance to local tribes’ traditional technology and were extensively mined at various locations, resulting in a unique type of cultural landscape, a prehistoric quarry. By referencing regional ethnohistorical data, it’s possible to better contextualize prehistoric quarry sites and understand their role in the lifeways and land use patterns of precontact Native Americans. However, ancient quarry sites are difficult to map because collecting geographic data on these large and topographically complex sites can be time consuming and expensive. Recent developments in drone based remote sensing offer a way to address this issue, since drone based remote sensing is capable of collecting highly accurate spatial data at the landscape scale in an efficient and cost-effective manner. This case study attempts to use both approaches, regional ethnohistory, and drone based remote sensing, to better understand a prehistoric quarry site in Western Montana. The results show that the two pronged approach can help shed light on the significance of quarry sites at both the local and regional level.


Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan serves as the ethnographic and traditional cultural studies coordinator, field survey supervisor,and heritage education program manager for Ethnotech LLC. Tim accepted a position in the CSKT Division of Lands in 1994, and independently developed the global positioning system(GPS)and... Read More →

Alex Schwab

Alex Schwab received a bachelors degree in Physical Geography, with and emphasis in GIS, from Montana State University in 2011. He also received a GIS Certificate from the University of Montana in 2017. Finally, he is set to receive his MA in Anthropology from the University of Montana... Read More →

Wednesday April 18, 2018 8:00am - 8:30am
Lewis Room