GIS Modeling of Archaeological Sites in the Raccoon River Greenbelt

Dallas County, Iowa

prepared for Jeff Logsdon and Donna Howe, Dallas County Conservation Board, Perry, Iowa

prepared by Paul F. Anderson, Department of Landscape Architecture, Department of Agronomy, Land Use Analysis Laboratory, Iowa State University

July 1995


Abstract:

Iowa map of study area locationThe Raccoon River Greenbelt was created in 1989 to develop and implement management policies and plans for cultural and natural resources. Concern for preserving archaeological sites in the Greenbelt increased recently due to extensive flooding in 1993 and rapid urbanization in the past decade. In 1993, the Dallas County Conservation Board initiated an archaeological study to document known sites and locate additional sites.

Dallas County map of study area locationThe Greenbelt GIS database, developed primarily from 1989 to 1992, was used for modeling 85 known prehistoric archaeological sites in a 208 square mile portion of the Greenbelt. The raster database included data on land cover, soils, elevation, and significant sites (plant, animal, historic, archaeologic, geologic, and hydrologic).

 

GIS map of Model 2 results in the Redfield Unit of the Raccoon River GreenbeltDescriptive modeling compared characteristics of the 85 known sites with those in a sample of non-sites. Measures of frequency, cumulative percentage, chi square, significance, and areal correspondence identified four variables on which to base the predictive models: proximity to stream confluences, proximity to stream valleys, soil landscape position, and historic vegetation. Variables were selected by Fred Finney and Cindy Peterson of the Office of the State Archaeologist.

Graph of Model 2 and Model 3 cutpoint score and improvement over chancePredictive modeling used logistical multiple linear regression (logit model) techniques to identify areas with high potential for additional sites. Results of two models were compared using measures of mean, significance, cumulative percentage, percentage correctly classified, and improvement over chance. Results from Model 2 showed a 55.7 percent improvement over chance. At a cutpoint score of 16 (0.44 on a scale of 0 to 1), 84.8 percent of known sites were correctly classified by Model 2 and 70.9 percent of non-sites were correctly classified. Results from Model 3 showed only a 51.4 percent improvement over chance. At a cutpoint score of 19 (0.56), 89.7 percent of known sites were correctly classified by Model 3 and 61.7 percent of non-sites were correctly classified. The predictive models will be validated through additional field surveys in 1995.

GIS map of Model 2 reclassified results based on the cutpoint score 16 (0.44)There is a need to validate the predictive models through additional field surveys. Refinement of the models is possible by comparing landscape characteristics of known sites with landscape characteristics of known non-sites. County Conservation Board officials plan to extend the survey and modeling work to other parts of the Greenbelt to assist in making decisions about landscape management.


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Data sources for GIS data layers

Soil types, slope classes, erosion classes
Dallas County Soil Survey, Soil Conservation Service, US Dept. of Agriculture, October 1983, 4"/mile
Land cover/land use, transportation, utilities
Aerial photographs, color infrared, US Geological Survey, 5-15-83, 1.1"/mile
Aerial photographs, color infrared, Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, 1983, approx. 2.64"/mile
Aerial photographs, black and white, ASCS, US Dept. Agriculture, Summer 1983, 8"/mile
Dallas County Soil Survey, Soil Conservation Service, US Dept. of Agriculture, October 1983, 4"/mile
Topographic quadrangle maps, US Geological Survey, 1985, 2.64"/mile
County transportation map, Iowa Dept. of Transportation, 1986, 0.5"/mile
Zoning
Dallas County Planning and Zoning map, 1974, updated 1990, 1"/mile
Elevation and slope aspect
Digital terrain tape, US Geological Survey, 1972
Rare plant and animal species and communities
Iowa Natural Areas Inventory, Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, October 1989, listing
Archaeological sites
Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist, October 1989, listing
Historic sites
Iowa Office of Historic Preservation, October 1989, listing
Forest, wetland, and prairie reserve areas
Dallas County Assessor and Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, December 1989, listing
CRP acres
Soil Conservation Service and ASCS, US Dept. of Agriculture, December 1989, listing
Historic sites, archaeological sites, geologic sites Public lands, valuable habitat areas
Dallas County Conservation Board staff, December 1989, listings, interviews, map annotations
Dept. of Natural Resources management biologist, December 1989, interview, map annotations
Geology, soil associations, watersheds, streams, drainage order, general land use, counties and boundaries
Iowa MSDAMP Database, ISU Land Use Analysis Lab, 1970-1975, 0.03"/mile

Paul Anderson's home page

Last update: 23 December 96