Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2003

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Resource Management

Committee Chair

Steven Hackenberger

Second Committee Member

Nancy Hultquist

Third Committee Member

Anne Denman


The settlement patterns of the prehistoric inhabitants of the Columbia Plateau were choreographed to match the cadence of the seasons, with movements timed to efficiently utilize available resources. Desert roots, such as lomatium and bitterroot, provided a primary source of dietary nutrition, yet the ideal conditions for exploiting these plant resources coalesced for a very limited time in any one location. It was therefore necessary to possess an intimate knowledge of the plants' lifecycles in order to effectively plan gathering activities. In order to predict the growth patterns and maturation rates of these desert root crops, a GIS model was developed using lntergraph's GeoMedia Grid Software. By modeling the potential growth patterns of these plant resources, it is possible to predict the movements of the peoples involved in this particular subsistence activity. The results of this project indicate that GIS modeling may provide an effective means to model settlement patterns.