Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



The archaeological heritages of many of the world’s historic cities are at risk. If these urban archaeological resources are destroyed before excavation and documentation using sound archaeological techniques, the material histories of these cities are erased. The Urban Archaeological Supersite Paradigm is presented as means to address some of the threats facing urban archaeological sites.

The urban archaeological supersite paradigm is both an applied and a scholarly research framework useful for examining and interpreting the urban past and for helping to address urban archaeological heritage at risk. It conceptualizes the historic city as a supersite made up of numerous archaeological deposits and past activity areas that can reveal the palimpsest of the city. The supersite paradigm is also a mechanism to identify, analyze, and interpret the archaeological heritage of the city via historical GIS (HGIS). Using New Orleans as an example, the research presented involved collecting, creating, and analyzing geospatial data and combining this data in new, meaningful ways within a GIS platform. To showcase the usefulness of implementing the supersite paradigm using HGIS research, three different research questions, at three different scales, are addressed to investigate past histories of New Orleans.

The goal is to improve the likelihood that archaeology is incorporated into larger urban planning, management, and implementation processes thereby reducing the threats to the historic urban landscape. Moreover, creating a research paradigm in combination with HGIS creates opportunities for scholars to examine the historic city from a variety of perspectives and helps to link research themes spatially by adding a geographical component.



Committee Chair

Saunders, Rebecca