GIS in Vertical Spaces: An Examination of Location and Clustering of Mortuary Contexts at the Cliff Site of La Petaca, Peru
This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Geographic Information Systems are often applied to archaeological contexts to analyze spatial patterns within a site and ascertain social structure and identity. Vertical sites, however, pose a problem for GIS since most analyses must occur on the horizontal plane. This is particularly troublesome for studying the Chachapoya, a Late Intermediate Period group of the northeastern Peruvian Andes whose methods for disposing of their dead involved highly visible spaces on cliff faces. The vertical nature of these sites make mapping using traditional methods a challenge. This project used high resolution photography in conjunction with ArcGIS to explore the notable mortuary complex of La Petaca, which includes over 120 burial structures distributed across a vertical rock face extending 1,200 m2. Its size provides the opportunity to study the applications of GIS to vertically distributed archaeological sites and thereby ascertain the relationship between location and social, cultural, or familial affiliation so often examined on horizontal sites. By adjusting our perspective on 3-dimensional coordinate data, we can conduct spatial and cluster analyses that were previously unavailable for vertical sites. Results demonstrate that GIS analyses of vertical sites yields reliable statistical data, supporting interpretations of social identity and cohesion within the Chachapoya people.
Cite this Record
GIS in Vertical Spaces: An Examination of Location and Clustering of Mortuary Contexts at the Cliff Site of La Petaca, Peru. Armando Anzellini, J. Marla Toyne. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450114)
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min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;
Abstract Id(s): 24065