Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Winter 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Committee Chair

Steven Hackenberger

Second Committee Member

Patrick T. McCutcheon

Third Committee Member

Kate Valdez, Yakama Nation THPO


This thesis uses Global Information Systems (GIS) to investigate travel networks and site locations on the Hanford Nuclear Site. I construct a spatially referenced base map of historical travel routes, compare amounts of areas with and without archaeological survey, and analyze the location of archaeological sites. Government Land Office maps (GLO’s) mapped trails between1860’s and 1890’s. GIS analysis helps calculate relative frequencies and the densities of site and artifact types within 2 km buffers along the Columbia River corridor and trails. Collaboration between agencies and tribes facilitates consultation on all matters related to Hanford, and shared management of data covering traditional and contemporary practices. This study was inspired by my work within the Yakama Nation Environmental Restoration and Waste Management (ERWM) program. By providing analysis of site use through detailed classification of site types and artifact types, I hope to raise awareness of the importance of Hanford to native peoples and improve resource co-management. Hanford Site archaeological surveys have been completed under National Historic Preservation Act (section106 and 110) requirements. The Hanford site consists of a total of 1517 square kilometers and approximately 494 square kilometers have been surveyed. There are 2,263 cultural sites across the Hanford landscape. Precontact site (n=1,022) and artifact types were mapped and tabulated into categories and their frequencies were used in the contingency tables. Results indicate the Residential/Non-Residential and Rock Cairn site types, and the Projectile Point/Biface and Debitage/Flakes artifact types are associated with the Columbia River and/or trails. The distributions of site and artifact types raise several questions and lead to recommendations for additional survey coverage. GIS data management and analysis combined with future survey will improve understanding of past land uses and what types of activities drew people away from the river and along trails crossing the interior of the Hanford Reach.