Isolating the Principal Dimensions of Settlement

Author(s): Kenneth Kvamme

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Novel Statistical Techniques in Archaeology II (QUANTARCH II)" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

In regional investigations of settlement location the analyst typically assumes that appropriate variables have been identified—important variables have not been omitted and irrelevant ones have not been included—an assumption not always justified. The identification of a "minimum set" of location requirements is more appropriate for understanding or modeling settlement placements. This can be accomplished through a principal components analysis of a wide collection of variables measured at settlements, but with a twist. By selecting the lowest stable components principal dimensions relevant to settlement may be defined that point to constant relationships in their distributions, maintain consistent values where settlements occur, and which minimize variance by indicating where settlements vary the least in terms of location. High loadings on these components permit their interpretation and define the principal dimensions of settlement. Their mapping, via GIS, offers much insight. These components may also be used as inputs to archaeological location models. An example is offered from historic Northwest Arkansas based on hundreds of farmsteads and historic maps where landform, soils, the hydrologic network, and the cultural landscape define four principal dimensions of settlement.

Cite this Record

Isolating the Principal Dimensions of Settlement. Kenneth Kvamme. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452324)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24958