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Polyvalent Monumentality: Analyzing Geospatially the Interplay of Fortification and Hydrology at the Maya site of Muralla de León

Author(s): Justin Bracken

Year: 2017

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Summary

Dissertation fieldwork since 2014 at Muralla de León has documented, mapped, and partially excavated an integrated system of earthworks that appears to have served both large-scale defensive and hydrological functions. Located on the shores of Lake Macanché, the site sits atop a steep-sided natural rise, artificially augmented in height by an encircling stone rampart wall, or enceinte. A defensive function for the enceinte is hypothesized, though it also appears to serve as a means of water control within and around the site. Additionally, an artificial channel just outside of the wall likely functioned both for navigation and as a defensive moat. In order to explore the proposed functions for these features, a system of detailed mapping and targeted excavation has been deployed. The mapping effort has utilized a total transit station and handheld GPS unit to produce a high-resolution DEM. This level of detail has allowed for GIS analyses of movement, using tools like least cost path, and of the hydrology of the site interior and adjacent channel. These analyses have informed the major hypotheses of the project, offering useful but not unequivocal insight. Here, the contributions of this spatial component of the project are weighed and discussed.


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Cite this Record

Polyvalent Monumentality: Analyzing Geospatially the Interplay of Fortification and Hydrology at the Maya site of Muralla de León. Justin Bracken. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 432017)


Keywords

General
Fortifications Gis Maya

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17079

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