Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Geographic Information Science & Technology


Chemistry & Geosciences

Committee Chair

Dr. M. Chenoweth


This thesis aims to thoroughly analyze the Mehlich II Phosphorus Extractant and pH levels at the Bains Gap Village Site in Anniston, AL., while examining the impact of various environmental factors and human activities on them. Phosphorus is often used in archaeology as an indicator of human activity. Soil core samples were collected to analyze anomalies in phosphorus levels.

To establish any relationships, phosphorus and pH levels from soil cores were correlated with findings from past excavation units and features. The potential effects of hydrogeologic connectivity on soil phosphorus and pH levels were investigated. Geospatial technologies were used to manage and analyze field-collected data. Samples were collected in areas with seasonal vegetation, periodic flooding, and different elevations.

Soil chemistry analysis remains useful in identifying past human activities. However, using Mehlich II as an extractant in soil testing can be uncertain, especially in acidic soils. Nonetheless, phosphorus maps can offer valuable insights for future excavations. The most promising area for further investigation is near the north spring head. This location had multiple inclusions during the collection process and the highest phosphorus level below the Plow Zone. Low phosphorus levels over the site’s middle spring and the Mississippian stockade trench are indicators of erosion. The main objective is to examine what factors are interrelated and how they affect soil phosphorus levels and pH. This will better explain how human activities and environmental factors have impacted soil health within my study area.



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