Digital Analysis of the Natural and Cultural Interface

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Powerful digital technologies support innovative new analyses of the interface between nature and culture, an interface that profoundly influences site distribution, landscape evolution, and ultimately the sustainability or degradation of our habitats and surroundings. In this session, we examine and analyze the natural/cultural landscape at many scales, from site to region. We draw attention to a widening array of technologies and approaches, such as the analysis of data collected by satellite and aerial platforms, including drones; increasingly sophisticated applications of geographic information systems; on-ground geophysical methods; and incorporation of geoarchaeological and palaeo-environmental investigations, ethnohistory, and archival research. Contributors have utilized diverse technologies and approaches to explore the dialectic between nature and culture, the understanding of which grows more crucial as our landscapes everywhere on earth are being modified at an ever-increasing pace. Case studies offer perspectives from many geographic locations, environments, and social settings.

Other Keywords
Remote SensingGeoarchaeologyEnvironmentStone AxesGisLandscapeScaleUAVMoldovaclimate modelling

Geographic Keywords
AFRICAEuropeOceaniaCentral AmericaCaribbeanNorth America - California

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-6 of 6)

  • Documents (6)

  • Amerindian archaeological site DEM construction and analysis from UAV flights (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Till Sonnemann. Menno Hoogland. Corinne L. Hofman. Eduardo Herrera Malatesta. Jorge Ulloa Hung.

    The archaeological footprint of Caribbean pre-Columbian settlements is often subtle; limited to surface scatter of shell, lithic and ceramic material. In the northern Dominican Republic, slight differences in topography have been identified as additional evidence for Amerindian habitation sites. Circular platforms from 7 to 10 meters in diameter, were dug into the hill slope and levelled to form the base of round houses, as shown in recent excavations by the Nexus1492 project. The terraced...

  • De-coding landscape heritage through cross-disciplinary studies in Pacific Oceania (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mike Carson.

    Landscapes can be appreciated as heritage resources with complex natural and cultural histories, potentially studied through diverse data-sets and intellectual approaches. Toward illustrating some of these prospects, examples are presented from research across the Pacific Oceanic region, drawing on digital elevation models, coding of land cover and other geographic attributes, site-specific geoarchaeological testing, georeferencing of historical maps and images, and traditional ethnohistories as...

  • Mapping Marginal Landscapes – A Study from Neolithic Shetland (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Will Megarry. Gabriel Cooney. Robert Sands. Douglas Comer. Bryce Davenport.

    The Shetland Islands are the northernmost part of Europe where farming was practiced in the Neolithic, between 3800 and 2500 BCE. The islands’ isolated location coupled with distinct environmental factors resulted in distinctive and localized customs and economies. These are most clearly manifest in the production and distribution of felsite polished stone axes and Shetland knives sourced from linear grey-blue dykes in the elevated North Roe region of the islands. These artefacts are found...

  • A Satellite-Based Perspective on Ancient Climate in Tropical and Desert Regions (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Thomas Sever. Thomas L. Sever. Robert Griffin.

    This research documents the effects of human activity upon tropical forests and desert landscapes. The investigation uses both satellite and airborne imagery to understand the dynamics of human adaptation and interaction upon these landscapes, and the role of natural and human-induced past and present changes to climate variability. These two subjects are highly interrelated since human-induced landscape changes can have strong impacts on climate, while natural climate variability can in turn...

  • Searching for Evidence of Early Human Occupation of the New World with Aerial and Satellite Imagery (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Douglas Comer. Ronald Blom. Bruce Chapman. William Megarry. Bryce Davenport.

    The pluvial lakes in the Mojave Desert, Which are today simply expanses of sand in nine years out of ten, were once large bodies of water, many of them linked together by streams and large rivers. Several were fed by the Mojave River, which introduced aquatic life. Fresh water clams were common along the beaches on lakes fed by the Mojave River, which were also places frequented by human groups that were attracted to the resources to be found there, among which were now extinct mega-fauna. Both...

  • Terrain Modeling at Orheiul Vechi, Moldova (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Bryce Davenport. Douglas Comer. Will Megarry. Alexandru Popa. Sergiu Musteata.

    The Moldovan site of Orheiul Vechi has been continuously occupied since the Late Paleolithic due in part to its commanding position over the local landscape and its strategic situation on the nexus of Eurasian cultural flows and population movements. From the Iron Age onward, the inhabitants of Orheiul Vechi took advantage of natural fortifications, tributary access to the Dniester River, and nearby chernozem soils to consolidate a long-term power base. Using data from ongoing archaeological...