Social shifts in the late pre-hispanic US Southwest

Author(s): Jan Athenstädt; Habiba Habiba; Ulrik Brandes

Year: 2015


The Brainerd-Robinson (BR) index is frequently used as an measure of similarity among disparate archaeological entities. We propose a number of novel alternative methods to gauge similarity among such entities. We base our analysis on similarity among sites(locations) inhabited in the US Southwest during AD (1200-1450) using a large corpus of artifacts excavated at those locations and maintained as a comprehensive database by Archaeology Southwest. In this work we first identify some vital limitations of BR index. We believe these shortcomings significantly impair the actual picture of historical shifts in the US Southwest during that period. We propose a range of measures that have the potential to overcome those short comings while providing us with a more nuanced explanation of the demographic movements. We define sites' similarities as function of types and counts of wares found on each site. We further supplement the measures with factors such as containment, asymmetry, and relative ranking of wares as parameters. We build networks of probable movements and shifts within 50 years of time windows over the 250 years time period. Moreover, we compare the changes in population demographics across the 50 years time windows to get better insights into long distance movements.

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Social shifts in the late pre-hispanic US Southwest. Habiba Habiba, Jan Athenstädt, Ulrik Brandes. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397664)

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Spatial Coverage

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