Investigating Cedar Mesa (Utah) Settlement Pattern Behaviors Using Ideal-Free Distribution

Author(s): Kendall McGill

Year: 2017


Ideal-Free Distribution (IFD), a behavioral ecology theory, has been increasingly adopted by archaeologists to address questions about the relationship between settlement distribution, environment, and economy. In an anisotropic environment like Cedar Mesa, IFD theorizes that individuals would arrange themselves across the landscape according to habitat suitability and occupy the highest ranked regions first to maximize benefit to the individual. The Ancestral Pueblo of Cedar Mesa subsisted on a maize-based diet and it has long since been assumed their dietary reliance on dry-farmed maize yields resulted in residence location selection driven by access to agriculturally productive land. Analyzing archaeological site data and digital environmental datasets with IFD provided an opportunity to reexamine the settlement patterns of the Ancestral Pueblo on Cedar Mesa and the potential influence of additional environmental variables. In addition to proximity to arable lands, IFD predicts that occupants would select residential locations that reduced transportation costs to essential resources, such as water, wild foods, and fuel. This presentation shows the results of habitat suitability calculations and assesses the degree to which IFD predictions align with settlement pattern behaviors on Cedar Mesa.

Cite this Record

Investigating Cedar Mesa (Utah) Settlement Pattern Behaviors Using Ideal-Free Distribution. Kendall McGill. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430284)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17610