Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Interregional “landscapes of movement” and the La Unión Archaeological District of northeastern Costa Rica
by Benfer, Adam Kevin, M.A., University of Kansas, 2012, 189; 1515414
Abstract (Summary)

In Costa Rica and the Circum-Caribbean, identifying the locations, functions, and evolution of past networks of human movement contributes to understanding pre-Hispanic interregional interactions and exchanges. I hypothesize the existence of Period VI (A.D. 1000 – 1550) routes of interdistrict movement between the northeastern Caribbean Lowlands and the Central Highlands of Costa Rica. To test this hypothesis, I use a multiple-method approach: archival research of historic roads and paths, archaeological reconnaissance of late pre-Hispanic features, and geographic information systems (GIS) least cost path (LCP) and least cost corridor (LCC) analyses. I discuss the possible functions and evaluate the roles of these routes among other interconnected networks. While archaeologists have documented some pre-Hispanic roads and paths in Costa Rica, few pre-Hispanic interregional routes of human movement have been identified. During the Colonial Period, the Spanish utilized these same landscapes of movement and waterscapes of movement for their own transportation and communication. Since the use of some routes persist into the present, archival research can reveal routes of pre-Hispanic movement. The results of my investigations show that there is a relationship between the optimal (GIS modeled) and historical landscapes of movement with the archaeological evidence that such a route existed during the late pre-Hispanic. While a regional archaeological survey is required to identify the late pre-Hispanic network of movement, my multiple-method approach identifies segments of that network and examines how humans moved across the landscape of northwestern Costa Rica over one thousand years ago.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hoopes, John W.
Commitee: Herlihy, Peter H., Sellet, Frederic
School: University of Kansas
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Latin American Studies
Keywords: Archaeology of travel, Costa Rica, Geographic information systems, Isthmo-Colombian area, Least cost paths, World-systems theory
Publication Number: 1515414
ISBN: 9781267502681
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