Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A GIS analysis of archaeological trails and site catchments in the Grand Canyon, Arizona
by Teeter, Sean L., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2012, 206; 1518043
Abstract (Summary)

The topography of the Grand Canyon presents challenges to human movement in the form of long, continuous, vertical barriers and generally steep and rugged terrain. These conditions constrain human movement both energetically. In addition, the topography of the Grand Canyon creates accessibility issues. This thesis explores the implications of these conditions on prehistoric populations. A comprehensive trail dataset was compiled based on the distribution of trails and routes known to modern day hikers. Comparison of the resulting dataset to archaeological sites and constructed trail features indicates a high correspondence between prehistoric and modern routes. The resulting dataset, in turn, indicates that accessibility of the Grand Canyon influenced prehistoric travel costs and decision making strategies. Subsequent Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis using ESRI ArcGIS Pathdistance tools compares the predictions of three formulae for the estimation of archaeological site catchments based on measures of energy expenditure and travel time, including 1) Tobler's (1993) Hiker Function, 2) Hill's (1995) method, and 3) The "Pandolf Equation" (Pandolf et al. 1977) and downhill correction factor (Yokota et al. 2004). Analysis indicates that the Pandolf equation is poorly suited to application in the Grand Canyon environment, and that Tobler's Hiker Function may provide a reasonable "upper bound" estimation of archaeological site catchments, while Hill's method provides a reasonable "lower bound" estimation. With these results in mind tentative conclusions are drawn concerning the effects of higher effective distance on prehistoric populations in the Grand Canyon.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smiley, Francis E., IV
Commitee: Downum, Christian E., Manone, Mark F., Vannette, Walter M.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 51/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Archaeology, Geographic information science
Keywords: Accessibility, Archaeology, Cost surface, Grand Canyon, Site catchment, Trails
Publication Number: 1518043
ISBN: 9781267587763
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