Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Brent R. Weisman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karla L. Davis-Salazar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

E. Christian Wells, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Zandbergen, Ph.D.


Landscape, Significance, GIS, Conservation, Preservation, Big Hammock


The population in Florida is projected to double over the next 50 years. Large land areas now in rural settings will become residential and urban areas. More than seven million acres of agriculture and open space will convert to housing developments, shopping malls, and business space. At stake are natural and cultural resources, which are lost or fragmented in this growth process. New planning measures are called for in order to grow in ways that minimize and least impact resources.

Archaeological value in preservation projects is often examined after priorities for natural resources have been set, relegating archaeology to a role of added-on value in acquisition targeting. Decisions are made daily by planners, cultural resource managers, and agencies, about what resources get saved and what get destroyed. These decisions are based on subjective evaluations such as archaeological significance, without a clear understanding for what resources exist and what resources have already been protected.

In this dissertation, I use a GAP audit approach, more commonly used in natural resource planning and management, to look at what the record of protection is for archaeology. I examine the region of the Big Hammock in North-central Florida, where agricultural land holdings are shown to be critical to archaeology, with nearly 65 percent of the recorded sites there, found on agriculture crop and pasturelands. In the Pasco County portion of the region, more than 63 percent of agricultural lands have been converted to residential land over the last decade. Agricultural lands are often purposefully overlooked in land acquisition prioritization, with planners sometimes not looking at the long range land use changes that can occur and cause cumulative impacts to resources. The reality is that every year, nearly 150,000 acres of Florida farmland statewide is developed into new subdivisions and strip malls. This GAP audit, applied to the archaeological resources in one region in Florida, shows that lands holding the most archaeological diversity and potential, may not coincide with lands targeted for other resource acquisition priorities. Treating archaeology as an added-on value in the land preservation process is therefore, not an adequate means of resource conservation.