Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


People of the Central Plains tradition (A.D. 900 to 1450) practiced a lifestyle of diversified subsistence while occupying isolated to small clusters of earth lodges, or earthen dwellings. The Albert Bell site, in Sheridan County, Kansas, in 1990, was the location for the excavation of an earth lodge dating from this time. The objective of this study was to explore the site for the presence of another earth lodge or artifacts by utilizing geophysical methods and providing the data to archaeologists before excavation began for the 2002 field season. The geophysical methods used in this study included magnetometry and electrical resistivity. Magnetometer data revealed one magnetic anomaly in the northeast comer of the site at a location that was excavated in 1990. The anomaly may be a tool or iron bearing marker left behind. Distinct areas of high and low resistivity values appeared in the electrical resistivity survey. The areas of high resistivity are found in the lower elevations of the ridges side slopes, a location that least likely held an earth lodge. High and low resistivity anomalies indicate alluvial sands underlying a clay loam. All suspected anomalies and the area surrounding them were groundtruthed by excavating test pits and acquiring soil core samples. The results of the geophysical survey produced no indication that another earth lodge, or fire pits were located at the Albert Bell site. However, geophysical data in similar applications have been successful. Data collected in this study did provide a good representation of the subsurface at the site. The techniques used in this survey can be considered for future studies.


Ken Neuhauser

Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2003 Levi B. Short


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