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Modeling the formation of lithic surface assemblages through the application of aerial photography and photogrammetry

Author(s): Jonathan Reeves ; Jonathan Scott Reeves ; Melissa Miller ; David R. Braun

Year: 2016

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Previous research has demonstrated that surface artifacts provide insight into land-use patterns when the taphonomic processes influencing their distribution are understood. This understanding is derived from detailed field mapping of landscape topography and geomorphology. Aerial imagery, when combined with photogrammetry and geospatial analysis, produces datasets that can be used to characterize the erosional processes that actively influence the occurrence of surface material. Using unmanned aerial systems and photogrammetric software (Agisoft Photoscan), we created high resolution orthomosaic imagery and, digital elevation models (DEM) of the archaeological landscapes of Koobi Fora. Terrain analyses of the DEMs investigate hydrology, slope, aspect and terrain ruggedness of the modern landscape. Here these methods are employed in combination with artifact location data, to explore how active erosional processes and topography influence the formation of surface assemblages. These data have implications for understanding when high densities of surface material reflect patterns of behavior as opposed to concentrations that are the result of variation in erosional patterns. We demonstrate the degree to which modern terrain influences the occurrence, density, composition and overall preservation of surface artifacts.

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Modeling the formation of lithic surface assemblages through the application of aerial photography and photogrammetry. Jonathan Reeves, Jonathan Scott Reeves, Melissa Miller, David R. Braun. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404765)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

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