A Geospatial Analysis Exploring Movement and Perception in the Selection of Alpine Cairn Locations in Southeast Alaska
In 2013 an intensive archaeological survey of a portion of northern Baranof Island in southeast Alaska, focusing on the slope and crest of Cross Peak Mountain, resulted in the discovery and documentation of fifty loose rock "cairns" estimated to have been constructed 500 – 1500ypb. These prehistoric alpine features, overlooking the intersection of Hoonah Sound and Peril Strait, are often associated with stories and narrative referencing the "Flood" by Tlingit people from both Sitka and Hoonah (Xutsnoowú) territories. Exploratory spatial analysis of the distribution of these alpine cairns is pursued with the goal of increasing our understanding of Tlingit activities in this alpine setting. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools and methodologies to examine the environmental characteristics of cairn locations, as well as assess accessibility and visibility, we explore the ancient decision-making that may underlie the placement of these rock features. Different approaches for assessing accessibility including site catchments, least-cost paths, networks, and corridors, as well as varying cost parameters are explored. Potential patterns in the visibility of the surrounding landscape from each cairn location are examined to explore the role of vision and perception in the activities in this setting.
Cite this Record
A Geospatial Analysis Exploring Movement and Perception in the Selection of Alpine Cairn Locations in Southeast Alaska. Amanda Renner, Ralph Hartley, William Hunt. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443308)
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North America: Pacific Northwest Coast and Plateau
Abstract Id(s): 20973