A GIS of Movement and Sensory Experience at a Planned Colonial Town in Highland Peru

Author(s): Steven Wernke; Teddy Abel Traslaviña

Year: 2016


GIS in archaeology has diversified beyond its origins as a map-and-database and predictive modeling tool to explore multidimensional views of human experience in the past. This paper combines models of movement and visibility at the scale of a single settlement to render an approximation of sensory experience within the built environment of a planned colonial town in highland Peru. In the 1570s, some 1.5 million native Andeans were forcibly resettled to “reduction towns” (reducciones) based on a theory of the built environment: that compact settlements built around central churches and plazas would generate properly civilized, Christian subjects and communities. The relict reducción of Santa Cruz de Tuti of highland Peru is exceptional in its architectural preservation, enabling modeling of visual and kinetic aspects of dwelling in one of these towns. Specifically, traffic density maps derived from spatial network analyses are used to distribute observers in a high resolution, site-level cumulative viewshed analysis, thus integrating a model of aggregate movement with visibility density estimates. The results point to the centrality and visual prominence not only of the site’s church and plaza, but of indigenous elite households and the Inkaic ritual spaces that were incorporated within the core of the reducción.

Cite this Record

A GIS of Movement and Sensory Experience at a Planned Colonial Town in Highland Peru. Steven Wernke, Teddy Abel Traslaviña. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403460)


andes Colonialism Gis

Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;