LiDAR-Based Analysis of Antebellum-Era Sugar Mill Remains in Brazoria County, Texas: Investigations from Above and Below

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The Levi Jordan Plantation State Historic Site has undergone extensive excavations and geophysical survey. Despite these efforts, some anticipated features remain undiscovered on the plantation. This research aims to assess the efficacy of LiDAR-derived digital elevation models in identifying historical surficial features, effectively complementing the conventional excavation and geophysical surveying methods employed thus far. The study involves the acquisition and processing of LiDAR data to construct accurate digital elevation models of the sugar mill south of the Levi Jordan Plantation State Historic Site. Through careful analysis of these models, the research endeavors to identify and map historical features, potentially shedding light on elements that have eluded previous investigations. By comparing the results obtained from LiDAR-derived models to previous geophysical and excavatory findings, the study aims to demonstrate the capabilities of LiDAR in enhancing archaeological exploration of historic-era structures. The implications of this research extend beyond the Levi Jordan Plantation State Historic Site. This study underlines the viability of LiDAR as a cost-effective and efficient tool for identifying historical features in the Southeastern United States, thus contributing to the advancement of archaeological methodologies. Furthermore, the findings could foster a reevaluation of conventional surveying practices and encourage the integration of LiDAR technology in future archaeological projects, allowing for more comprehensive and accurate insights into historical sites.

LiDAR, archeology, Texas, plantation, sugar mill, historic, antebellum, Brazoria County,