Mapping Inundation of Native American Cultural Sites by the Allegheny Reservoir, Cattaraugus County, New York

Authors: Elijah Freiman*, SUNY - Geneseo
Topics: Cultural Geography, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: Native Americans, Kinzua Dam, Cultural Geography, Inundation, Archaeology
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A significant impact of dam construction in the US has been the flooding and destruction of Native American cultural sites. The purpose of this project is to map and quantitatively assess Native American cultural sites (e.g. archaeological sites) inundated by the Allegheny Reservoir following construction of the highly controversial Kinzua Dam, in 1965. The Kinzua Dam was built in Warren County, Pennsylvania and its reservoir flooded the Alleghany River northward into New York State, into the Allegany Indian Reservation occupied by the Seneca Nation of Indians (SNI). Although these lands were long occupied by indigenous people, and the reservoir is recognized to have inundated Native American cultural sites, these impacts have not been rigorously assessed. Historical New York State maps and archaeological site data from multiple sources were digitized and incorporated into a GIS. Focusing on Cattaraugus County, New York, this study documents the significant extent of Native American cultural site disturbance caused by the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir.

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