GIS at Dickinson College

GIS News, Events and Student Work blog

Category: Student Work (Page 3 of 5)

London in the Time of Cholera: Elevation and Disease

Tessa Cicak, Spring 2012

Creating a Geodatabase: The Town of Kirkland, NY

Michael D’Aprix, Spring 2012

Analysis of Census Data in the Cumberland Valley Area

Carrie Evans, Spring 2012

Istanbul Documentation Project: Geospatial Survey of Historic and Cultural Sites

Dan Plekhov, Spring 2012

Evaluation of LIDAR for Locating Prehistoric Metarhyolite Quarry Sites on South Mountain, PA

Rebecca Rossi, Spring 2012

Dickinson’s Potential to Grow Warmer Climate Flora on the Academic Quad

Andrew Shoemaker, Spring 2012

Camp Michaux

Karl Smith, Spring 2012

Is Race Really Necessary?

Douglas Swift, Spring 2012

Utilizing Database Driven Cartography for Dickinson ROTC Land Navigation Training

Nathan Toews, Spring 2012

What Makes Suitable Habitat for Nesting Shorebirds on the Gulf Coast

Alexander Aflalo, Fall 2011

The Viability of Alternative Dickinson Tour Routes

Michael Blair, Fall 2011

Bicycle and Pedestrian Routes, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Lauren Bruns, Fall 2011

The Susquehannock Vacuum: Fort construction in relation to Native American Resettlements

By Tessa Cicak, Fall 2011


The Susquehannoks arrived on the landscape long before the first colonial contact in 1550 however the exact date of their inhabitation is unknown. The language that they spoke is Iroquoian and it is likely that the were a branch of the Iroquois that settled in Pennsylvania. Susquehannock pottery shows many characteristics of the Iroquois’ and its evolution can be seen throughout different stages in the tribe’s lifespan.
By the time colonial explorers and traders arrived, the Susquehannocks were firmly established as traders in furs. Fur being a demanded commodity in Europe gave the tribe much power and wealth and an extremely strategic position. However broken negotiations with the colonists, war with their neighboring tribes, and disease depleted their numbers and drove them down into Maryland and eventually to Conestoga Town in Pennsylvania where they were finally exterminated by radical white settlers.
This gap left a vacuum along the Susquehanna River that the Iroquois quickly realized needed to be filled lest white settlers begin to move in. At the time the Blue Mountains were acting as a natural buffer against white advancement but as more of the state was being purchased the Iroquois knew they could not keep the white man out for long. However the Iroquois lacked the numbers needed to resettle the land and, according to historical records, they relocated other tribes into that are,. This relocation took 90 years but finally the vacuum was filled.


Problem Statement

The historical records show that there was a relocation of (five) tribes along the Susquehanna River, many following a trail called the Tuscarora. I am looking to see if
there is any correlation between abandoned Susquehannock settlements and their reuse by these new tribes through analyzing material culture and what is the correlation between the building of colonial forts during this time and the resettlement of Susquehannock lands. Do forts from this time fall along the Tuscarora path? Are they near and contemporaneous with the new Native American settlements?


Much of my data came from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The rest of it came from historical documents contained in Paul Wallace’s Indians in Pennsylvania. The files that came from the PAHMC contained Susquehannock Villages and Pennsylvania Forts from 1601 through 1850. Data was analyzed based on the following criteria:
•Susquehannock Villages were identified based on pottery that had been found there.
• Forts were identified as only those that had been built before 1800.

A map of Native American resettlements found in Wallace was georeferenced and digitized.
•Correlations in Susquehannock sites and resettlements were then looked for
•Forts were color coded based on date and then analyzed in relation to resettlements


All resettlements but one were found to be on the southern edge of Susquehannock territory. Most of these sites were located on or very near abandoned Susquehannock settlements. There were three that were not, however it may be that material evidence has not yet been found. Also it may be that the sites on Wallace’s map are not shown in their exact location. I searched through PHMC’s GIS database to find the exact locations of the sites shown in his illustration, however not all showed up. Once again this does not mean that they don’t exist, they may have been developed over.
It is most interesting to not that resettlement sites were chosen on the southern most edge of Susquehannock territory. This may be because these tribes preferred to be on the Susquehanna River.
While the Susquehannocks were still on the landscape most forts were near Philadelphia and it appears they did not begin to move northward until 1720, nineteen years after the first resettlements began. It is not until 1750 that forts move into more northern territory. The Blue Mountain were probably acting as a barrier.
The two most interesting areas are the two resettlements, one from 1742 and one from 1748, and their proximity with two forts. Fort Augusta (the southern most) was built in 1756, fourteen years after resettlement. It is also interesting that it is on the North Side of the Susquehanna and the Native American village in on the south. The second site is actually two forts, Forty Fort (1770) and Fort Wilkes Barre (1776). They are also on the North side of the river with the village to their south.

Conclusion & Recommendations

I think that these forts were being built in relation to movements of Native Americans into new territory. Also Settlers were probably anxious about this expansion due to the heightened aggressiveness of Native Americans who had allied with the French in the years leading up to the French and Indian war.


Wallace, Paul. Indians in Pennsylvania. PHMC 1981

Noel Strattan PHMC CRGIS

Clinton, New York: Demographics and Land Use of a School District in Crisis

Michael D’Aprix, Fall 2011

Par Evaluation for Dickinson Campus Ultimate Frisbee Golf Course

Luke Donohue, Fall 2011

For those of you looking to play, here are the parameters for what you are shooting for on each hole:

Hole 1: Whole tree next to Witwer

Hole 2: Whole, gnarled tree farthest to the right, facing from the end of hole 1

Hole 3: Trunk only of tree right by Morgan

Hole 4: Trunk of giant tree accross the street

Hole 5: Trunk only of tree on the near side of Mathews House

Hole 6: Hedges on the side of Drayer proch

Hole 7: Trunk only of giant tree on the far side of the bike racks

Hole 8: Trunk only of the tree towards the gate out of  Morgan field (see map)

Hole 9: Trunk only of the tree on the far side of Weiss

Hole 10: Trunk only of Birch right at the edge of the path in front of East College

Hole 11: Bottom of Street Light around the back of East (From where the base starts to bell out to the ground)

Hole 12: Plaque only in the middle of the memorial garden

Hole 13: Base of the Flagpole (NOT the flagpole, hitting the flagple is +5)

Hole 14: Wooden kiosk by the crosswalk towards the Hub

Hole 15: Trunk only of the tree next to ATS

Hole 16: Bottom of the Street Light farthest down Dickinson Map (see map, same parameters as other Street Light)

Hole 17: Trunk only of Tree around KW (see map)

Hole 18: Tree Trunk only of tree on the Upper Quad

Hole 19: Map on Morgan Field

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