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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(2), 112; doi:10.3390/rs9020112

Cutbank Geophysics: A New Method for Expanding Magnetic Investigations to the Subsurface Using Magnetic Susceptibility Testing at an Awatixa Hidatsa Village, North Dakota

1
Department of Anthropology and Earth Science, Minnesota State University Moorhead, 1104 7th Avenue South, Moorhead, MN 56563, USA
2
National Park Service, Midwest Archeological Center, 100 Centennial Mall, North, Room 474, Lincoln, NE 68508, USA
3
Metcalf Archaeological Consultants, PO Box 2154, Bismarck, ND 58502, USA
4
Department of Geology, University of Kansas, 1475 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kenneth L. Kvamme, Xiaofeng Li Richard Müller, Richard Gloaguen and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaeological Prospecting and Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

Magnetic susceptibility investigations were conducted at an Awatixa Hidatsa village (32ME11, also known as Sakakawea Village) along a cutbank at the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site (KNRI) in central North Dakota, USA. This extensive exposure provided a superb opportunity to correlate magnetic susceptibility measurements with a variety of subsurface features. These features were visible in the cutbank, and also recorded in cutbank profiles completed in the late 1970s in work supervised by Robert Nickel and Stanley Ahler. The susceptibility studies are part of a larger program of geophysics at KNRI that commenced with pioneering surveys of John Weymouth and Robert Nickel, also in the 1970s, and continued with extensive surface-based magnetic surveys over the interior portion of the site in 2012 by the National Park Service. Our magnetic susceptibility study differs from other geophysical efforts in that measurements were collected from the vertical cutbank, not from the surface, to investigate different feature types within their stratigraphic context and to map small-scale vertical changes in susceptibility. In situ measurements of volume magnetic susceptibility were accomplished on the cutbank at six areas within the village and a control location off-site. Samples were collected for use in soil magnetic studies aimed at providing an understanding of susceptibility contrasts in terms of magnetic mineralogy, grain size, and concentration. Distinctive susceptibility signatures for natural and cultural soils, different feature types, and buried soils, suggest that down-hole susceptibility surveys could be usefully paired with surface-based geophysics and soil magnetic studies to explore interior areas of this and other KNRI sites, mapping vertical and horizontal site limits, activity areas, features, and perhaps even earlier occupations. This study showcases the potential of cutbank studies for future geophysical survey design and interpretation, and also underscores the importance of information gained through pioneering studies of the past. View Full-Text
Keywords: geophysical surveys; magnetic susceptibility; archaeology; soil magnetism; North Dakota; Knife River Indian Villages; National Park Service geophysical surveys; magnetic susceptibility; archaeology; soil magnetism; North Dakota; Knife River Indian Villages; National Park Service
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Dalan, R.; Sturdevant, J.; Wallace, R.; Schneider, B.; Vore, S.D. Cutbank Geophysics: A New Method for Expanding Magnetic Investigations to the Subsurface Using Magnetic Susceptibility Testing at an Awatixa Hidatsa Village, North Dakota. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 112.

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