Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Geographic information systems (GIS) software was utilized in the analysis of the settlement patterns of Oneota sites in northwest Iowa along the Little Sioux River and Big Sioux River. Site catchment analysis was performed for each site utilizing a cost distance algorithm to calculate a two hour catchment to assess whether or not sufficient resources would have been found in the catchment area. Resources thought to be of particular importance to Oneota groups include permanent water sources, arable land for cultivation, and sufficient quantities of wild plants and large game animals. These resources and other variables such as elevation, slope aspect, and slope were then compared between known sites and non-sites using statistical measures to create a predictive model of the Little Sioux Valley to determine areas that have high potential to contain Oneota sites. Ultimately based upon these analyses, it is argued that Oneota groups settled in areas to take advantage of multiple vegetation zones and well drained soils suitable for both habitation and for cultivation of crops. These conclusions suggest that the reliance upon bison in the subsistence economy and influence in determining site location may not be as important as originally thought. Other factors such as settlement shifts, cultural influences on settlement patterns, and the possible effect of climate shifts had upon Oneota lifeways, subsistence, and settlement patterns are also discussed.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Charles Kim Benton



File Format


File Size

240 pages