The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type



Degree Name

Cultural Resources Management Archaeology: M.S.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Mark Muñiz

Second Advisor

Kelly Branam-Macauley

Fourth Advisor

Linea Sundstrom

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Rock art, Montana, shield-bearing warriors, photogrammetry, RTI


The Rafter Z site was a previously unrecorded rock art site located on private land in Rosebud County, Montana. The resulting thesis provided an opportunity to systematically document the site and conduct important rock art research within southeastern Montana. The thesis project was sectioned into two phases. The first phase provided the documentation of the Rafter Z site, surveying of 170-acres of private land, documentation of three additional cultural sites, and a comprehensive analysis of the Rafter Z site. This research showed that the Rafter Z site constitutes one of the larger rock art sites in Rosebud County and the greater southeastern Montana region. Housing 36 shield-bearing warriors and 14 freestanding shields, the site offers a unique perspective into the Plains warrior ethos from the Late Prehistoric period. In addition, the site provides insight into early Crow and the Kiowa/ Kiowa Apache use of the region during the mid-to-late Prehistoric period with its mixture of Castle Garden and Timber Creek style rock art figures. The second phase of the proposed project utilized two digital techniques recently applied to rock art documentation: photogrammetry and reflectance transformation imaging (RTI). Several variables were tested to ascertain the best methods to effectively render 3D models using photogrammetry and conduct RTI on the sandstone substrate. Overall, these digital documentation methods heightened the interpretive and archival quality of the site documentation and data collected. Enhancing the archival quality of rock art will allow future research to occur when access may be limited.


Firstly, I would like to thank the landowners for graciously allowing me to conduct research at the site. Without their generous permission, this research would not have come to fruition. A special thanks also goes to Kishori Kelsey and Kathe Zimmerman for volunteering their time to help me complete the survey and site documentation; moreover, to Dr. Linea Sundstrom and Glenn Fredlund for coming to the site, providing equipment, and assisting with the RTI.

I would like to thank my thesis committee, Dr. Mark Muñiz and Dr. Kelly Branam-Macauley of St. Cloud State University, and Dr. Sundstrom for providing critical feedback and helping to guide my research during this project. I would like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Mark Muñiz for providing support and guidance throughout my entire graduate experience.

To Rick Rogers and Megan Lonksi for reading the multiple drafts of the thesis proposal and final thesis and providing great feedback and editing throughout this entire endeavor. I would also like to kindly thank Rick Rogers, my wonderful coworker, for being a great mentor throughout my professional and graduate career.

I am very grateful to Dr. Jim Keyser, Dr. Lawrence Loendorf, and Dr. Tim Cleary for providing technical expertise and guidance, feedback on my research, and permission to use many of their illustrations in this work.

I would also like to thank the Cynthia Kordecki Family and the North Dakota Archaeological Association (NDAA) Scholarship Committee for selecting my research at the Rafter Z site for the 2021 Cynthia Kordecki Scholarship. The Kordecki Scholarship provided funding to purchase equipment needed to conduct photogrammetry and RTI at the Rafter Z site.

Lastly, I would like to thank my husband, Jesse, and our dogs, Harper and Gus, for providing never ending support and encouragement, and to my friends and family for always asking, “when are you going to be done with that thing?”



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.