Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Ellis, Christopher J.


Lithic scatters, small ephemeral clusters of stone artifacts on cultivated surfaces, lie on the periphery of archaeology. These sites are often too ephemeral to be fully understood through standardized fieldwork methodologies mandated in Ontario CRM archaeology and yet, they are widely regarded as worth documenting with hundreds now recorded. In this thesis, it is argued that what are small artifact scatters on the surface can belie more complex subsurface finds of significant cultural and historical value. As such, there is a need to reconsider the approaches made to the investigation of these sites. Geophysical techniques applied early in a scatter’s investigation, particularly magnetometry, have the ability to facilitate the extraction of more pertinent data about past peoples and their activities from such sites. Archaeological work was carried out at two sites near Kitchener, Ontario, in order to evaluate whether surface and excavated artifact densities correlate with preserved subsurface cultural deposits. This work also included a direct and positive attempt at one of the sites to test the utility of magnetometry in this process.