Currently, I am working on examining the archaeological and historical evidence for Native American depopulation from Old World diseases during the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. This involves compiling all known direct evidence of depopulation from disease, mapping these data, and examining them through a series of spatial analyses. The first is simple interpolation to allow for a visual inspection of the spatial and temporal trends in continental depopulation trends. The second is spatial analysis tests that examine the spatial and temporal clustering of events. This latter work helps to understand how rapidly diseases were spreading. Comparing these results to more detailed information from regional studies in the Northeast and other regions helps us to understand why diseases spread the way they did and why they impacting Native populations the way they did.
In the link below you will find a PDF of my poster on the early results of this work. I presented it at the Society for American Archaeology’s 78th Annual Meeting in Honolulu, HI in April 2013.
Finally, this work is constantly improved by finding and analyzing new data. If you have any information on initial contact, sustained contact, or depopulation that I have not included, please leave a comment about sources of data or publications that I have overlooked, or just have not found on my own yet.