Elissa Hulit


One of the basic problems in the study of prehistoric North American ceramics is clay sourcing. In a 1992 paper, Robert Watson proposed a method of predicting optimal clay sources using a combination of United States Department of Agriculture soils maps, knowledge of landscape formations, and ethnographic data to predict optimal locations for raw clay acquisition in Jefferson County, WI. These optimal locations were then compared to the site data from the Southeastern Wisconsin Archaeological Project. In this paper I discuss the results of my attempt to adapt his methodology by creating a digital model which could predict the optimal clay sources of Walworth County, WI, located just to the southeast of Jefferson County. The results of this project point out several weaknesses in the proposed model, but also highlight the benefits of using GIS for analyzing the patterns in the site data.