Sight Communities in the American Southwest

Author(s): Wesley Bernardini

Year: 2015


Communities can be conceptualized along a number of dimensions – spatial, demographic, economic, ritual, among others. This study proposes that it may also be productive to consider communities organized around vision. It is well established that people construct mental representations or "cognitive maps" of their surroundings to organize spatial information and experiences and for spatial orientation and navigation. Populations who shared significant portions of their cognitive maps are likely to have shared important details of their cosmologies such as concepts of familiar and foreign, landmark references, and ritually charged places. This study uses GIS to identify the anchor points around which sight communities may have been oriented, and assesses the social consequences of visual landscapes that changed as populations fluctuated and migrated across them.

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Sight Communities in the American Southwest. Wesley Bernardini. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397329)

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Spatial Coverage

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