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An Experimental Project to Conduct Digital Survey for Ring Midden Features using Aerial Lidar Data

Author(s): Michael Heilen ; Monica Murrell

Year: 2016

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This poster presents an experimental research project performed for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Permian Basin Mitigation Program exploring the use of aerial lidar data to identify and document ring midden features. The project was carried out in three study areas in southeastern New Mexico situated along the eastern foothills of the Guadalupe and Sacramento Mountains. Previous archaeological surveys indicate that ring middens are common along rocky escarpments in the piedmont zone and suggest that thousands of these features may be located within the study areas and adjacent areas. The unique shape and prominence of ring middens suggested these features could be identified and analyzed using remote sensing techniques. Aerial lidar data were obtained and processed to create high-resolution topographic models and visualization datasets for each of the three study areas. A sample of each study area was digitally-surveyed using GIS to identify ring midden features. A subsample of these were ground-truthed and thoroughly documented during field verification efforts. The results of this study provided a better understanding of the distribution and morphology of ring midden features in southeastern New Mexico and showed that many, but not all, could be reliably identified using digital survey methods.

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An Experimental Project to Conduct Digital Survey for Ring Midden Features using Aerial Lidar Data. Michael Heilen, Monica Murrell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404586)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -105.566; min lat: 31.884 ; max long: -102.953; max lat: 33.807 ;

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