The Power of Location: Predictive Modeling and GIS
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In the past two decades, nautical archaeology has turned its attention to identifying and locating the ships used during the Atlantic Slave Trade. While the archival evidence exists, only a small number of these ships has been found, and even less have been excavated. Spatial analysis tools like GIS can be a powerful tool to help further this research. This thesis is an exploration of how predictive modeling and GIS could make the identification of slave wrecks plausible, and an overview of the ethical issues that surround the use of GIS within the context of the African Diaspora. With more representative sampling of ships, archaeologists can continue analyzing the slave trade not only from the archival documents of the owners, but also from the artifacts of those on board. Locating and identifying wrecks that are suitable for excavation will add invaluable data to the understanding of this journey; yet, numerous ethical issues must be taken into consideration. As this data deals with a crucial element of the African Diaspora, the larger anthropological community must involve the present descendants of these captives. If GIS is used in a larger theoretical context, it should also actively engage with present-day community stakeholders.
Atlantic Slave Trade
Rooney, Kelsey Ann (2017). The Power of Location: Predictive Modeling and GIS. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from