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Agency of Access: Public Architecture in Mesa Verde National Park

Author(s): Kelsey Reese ; Timothy Kohler

Year: 2015

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Summary

There are many architectural features in the Mesa Verde region that have been defined as "community centers," or rather, specific areas of cultural and social significance. Community centers may contain several public features, including a: Great Kiva, Reservoir, Great House, Plaza, Tower, and others. Although these features are assumed to have served a large surrounding population, the placement of these structures on the landscape can help us understand the ease with which the surrounding population may have accessed these public features—either visually or physically. The production of public architecture suggests forethought into the level of visibility and accessibility to each public feature—and this paper hopes to extrapolate and quantify that thought process by examining the placement of both habitation sites and public features. This paper combines least-cost and viewshed analyses to produce an accessibility metric that represents the ease of travel and participation from habitation sites to contemporaneous public architecture. By running these analyses across the Mesa Verde landscape and through time, changes in accessibility can be observed to suggest how communities may have responded to social, cultural, and environmental changes from A.D. 600-1280.

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Agency of Access: Public Architecture in Mesa Verde National Park. Kelsey Reese, Timothy Kohler. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395049)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America