Taking High Tech Back to Basics: GIS and the Three Dimensions of Archaeology

Author(s): Kit Wesler

Year: 2015


In many ways, the Willey and Phillips’s (1958) Method and Theory in American Archaeology still sets the parameters of how we conceptualize the units of North American archaeological classification. The authors defined three types of units, in theory independently based on time, space, and material content. Integrative units juggled the three dimensions to create local sequences, which then built into larger and larger constructs. Wide use of various dating mechanisms and detailed studies of material culture have developed our understanding of the temporal and material dimensions substantially, but substantive systematization of spatial units has lagged. GIS offers a newly rigorous technique for the definition of spatial parameters. This paper will consider the Willey and Phillips unit concepts, particularly at the area and regional level, with data from Mississippian and Medieval European case studies. The primary challenge at this point is obtaining the data.

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Cite this Record

Taking High Tech Back to Basics: GIS and the Three Dimensions of Archaeology. Kit Wesler. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397591)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Gis Method Mississippian

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southeast

Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;