Erotetics, GIS, and Data Resolution: Spatial Analysis in Archaeological Practice

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Over the past two decades the use of geospatial analyses and GIS within archaeology has grown in popularity and analytical power. Crucial to this success have been advances in personal computing and the increased availability of geospatial data at varying resolutions.

However, finer resolution data does not guarantee a superior result. The questions we ask often dictate our data needs and it is the responsibility of the researcher to carefully define the scale of analysis and units used. This symposium focuses on erotetics (the logic and theory of questions) and the role of data resolution, scale and evidence in modern GIS-driven archaeological research. Drawing on case studies from Europe, Oceania, the Americas, and Africa, this symposium provides an opportunity for scholars to explore the pragmatic nature of geospatial research, and the diversity of methodological approaches currently available for answering geospatial questions of interest to archaeologists.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-7 of 7)

  • Documents (7)

  • From Roads to Ritual: Comparing Logics and Scale of GIS Analyses of Inka Imperial Landscapes (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Shelby Magee.

    During their expansion throughout the Andes, the Inka Empire restructured a cultural and physical landscape to meet objectives of logistical and ideological control over their subjects. While this process is embodied by archaeological features such as large-scale infrastructure and the strategic positioning of sacred places, interpreting these datasets require appropriately scaled analyses for which GIS is uniquely suited. In this paper, I explore this topic by comparing two geospatial analyses,...

  • A GIS Analysis of Production Areas, Ritual Spaces, and Socioeconomics at the Mixed Inka-Local Administrative Center of Turi, Northern Chile (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Beau Murphy. Cristián González Rodríguez.

    While anthropologists are often concerned with profiling the socioeconomic character of the cultures they study, this task can be challenging for archaeological researchers investigating long-abandoned settlements. Intrasite socioeconomic reconstructions in particular may depend upon such factors as the accurate detection of specific production activities and the partitioning of architectural features into socially informative categories. This paper presents a case study on this topic wherein...

  • GIS, Identity, and the Sacred Landscape (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marc Wolf.

    GIS techniques are no foreigner to Mesoamerican studies though the hybridization of digital analytics and human identity is incomplete. In recent years suites of technologies have allowed for better visualization of data within archaeological projects. Though computer programs and higher profile data-gathering techniques have become widely embraced by the archaeological community, research should be rooted in cultural proclivities as well. By recording the complex shifts in topography via remote...

  • Landscape Use in Southeastern Ethiopia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kristina Whitney.

    The widespread availability of satellite data has opened up parts of the world that have long been inaccessible for archaeological research. One such area is the border between Ethiopia and Somalia, which has been embroiled in civil conflicts for the past 30 years. As such, little is known about the cultural heritage of southeastern Ethiopia and the greater Somalia region. This project shows how using geographic information systems (GIS) as a form of initial survey can reveal substantial results...

  • Polyvalent Monumentality: Analyzing Geospatially the Interplay of Fortification and Hydrology at the Maya site of Muralla de León (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Justin Bracken.

    Dissertation fieldwork since 2014 at Muralla de León has documented, mapped, and partially excavated an integrated system of earthworks that appears to have served both large-scale defensive and hydrological functions. Located on the shores of Lake Macanché, the site sits atop a steep-sided natural rise, artificially augmented in height by an encircling stone rampart wall, or enceinte. A defensive function for the enceinte is hypothesized, though it also appears to serve as a means of water...

  • Resiliency in Hawaiian Irrigated Agricultural Systems : A GIS Approach (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Joseph Birkmann. Michael W. Graves.

    Pre-contact Hawaiian agriculturalists created irrigated cropping systems of considerable complexity across all of the Hawaiian archipelago. While many of these systems are concentrated in short but broad alluvial valleys, the windward coast of the big island of Hawaii presents a unique hydrological landscape. Here the geologic youth of the island presented Hawaiian agriculturalists with a landscape dominated by relatively small, narrow gulches with limited space for cultivation and a propensity...

  • The Study of Castles throughout Europe: Limitations of Multi-Regional Studies (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Scott Kirk.

    For much of Europe, castles represent a point of cultural heritage and national pride. Yet, even though the study of castles has long been of interest to scholars, few researchers have moved beyond intraregional analyses to examine interregional trends in the manifestation of these monuments. Traditional archaeological investigations examining cross-cultural differences have been hampered primarily by language barriers and differences in how researchers approach questions pertaining to the...