GIS Analysis of the Road Network at the Postclassic Purépecha Site of Angamuco, Mexico

Author(s): Edwin Harris; Christopher T. Fisher

Year: 2018


The growing adoption of LiDAR for archaeological analysis makes determining how ancient peoples modified, interacted and moved through the landscape more practical. Initial analysis of the LiDAR produced imagery covering the Postclassic (1000-1520 CE) Purépecha site of Angamuco, located in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin of Michoacán, Mexico showed a highly urbanized multi-nucleated settlement sprawled across 26km2 of an ancient lava flow, with a complex urban structure. Here I discuss the results from a project to identify and extract road networks from the city. The Purépecha relied upon two primary types of roadways, typical ground level paths and elevated "highways" known as huatizi. By using the GIS software ArcMap, the possible roadways were identified visually by a combination of multiple data visualizations including Hillshade, Sky View Factor, and Openness Factor. A Least Cost Path analysis (LCP) was also applied to the entirety of the site to locate the most economical routes for comparison. The combination of the visually identified road network and the LCP provides a means to determine the pre-planning and organizational decisions involved in control of movement through the city.

Cite this Record

GIS Analysis of the Road Network at the Postclassic Purépecha Site of Angamuco, Mexico. Edwin Harris, Christopher T. Fisher. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442738)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -108.853; min lat: 18.771 ; max long: -102.788; max lat: 25.76 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22317