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Landscape Importance In Northern Arizona: An Application of Ethnographic Voices and Quantitative Viewshed Analysis

Author(s): Cody Dalpra

Year: 2017

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The importance of landscapes has long been discussed in archaeology, yet this is an often overlooked line of evidence. Landscapes often have a primary role in Native American oral histories and stories. Humans in general have a tendency to attach strong social meanings to visually prominent landforms. Such meanings are embedded within cultural landscapes as networks of natural and constructed places are perceived and made meaningful by communities. The Colorado Plateau of Northern Arizona features a vast landscape of mesa, canyons, and mountains that allows for an ideal test for incorporating these ideals into archaeological interpretation. Petrified Forest National Park (PEFO) near Holbrook, Arizona allows for such comparisons with its extensive site database. This research focuses on applying the importance of these ethnographic meaningful landscapes from Puebloan groups to documented sites within PEFO. By examining sites of variable size representing both sides of the Pueblo III to Pueblo IV transition in relation to the landscape, a clearer picture of how landscapes are vital to archaeological interpretation emerges. Three case studies demonstrate how viewshed analysis allows for a qualitative and quantitative measure of connection to the landscape as described by Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo ethnography.

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Landscape Importance In Northern Arizona: An Application of Ethnographic Voices and Quantitative Viewshed Analysis. Cody Dalpra. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 432118)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17078

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