Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Precontact Northern Arizona Ballcourts as Revealed through UAV Photogrammetry, GNSS Positioning, and In-Field Ceramic Analysis
by Wilson, Crispin, M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2020, 146; 27964015
Abstract (Summary)

Formalized ballcourt structures in the Southwest are material remnants of a social phenomenon stretching from the Mesoamerican world throughout Mexico and into the Hohokam sphere of central and southern Arizona. Wupatki National Monument outside of Flagstaff, Arizona represents the northern extent of Hohokam ballcourts. This thesis focusses on the 17 northernmost known ballcourts, rerecording 15 ballcourts and using legacy data for Winona and Wupatki ballcourts. To rerecord the ballcourts of this study, I employed aerial photography in the form of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-mounted high-resolution digital camera, as well as a pole-mounted Canon EOS 6D digital camera. Aerial photos are ortho-corrected using survey grade real time kinematic Global Navigation Satellite Systems (RTK GNSS) technology and combined into photogrammetric models to produce digital elevation models (DEMs), orthophotos, and 3D models. This is the first time such models of the known northern Arizona ballcourts have been produced, allowing an unprecedented level of accuracy for measuring and comparing dimensions and orientation. This study expands the work of Michael Morales (1994) to include the five known/suspected ballcourts on the Mogollon Rim south of Williams, Arizona as well as two features east of Flagstaff excluded from the 1994 study, now understood to be ballcourts. A redo of recorded courts using modern photography, GNSS, and computer software allows archaeologists and land managers to comprehend how such technologies might contribute to archaeological understandings of the northern Arizona ballcourt networks 24 years later. Additionally, this thesis discusses the potential archaeological advantages and logistical shortcomings modern recording technologies offer.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Downum, Christian E.
Commitee: Smiley, Francis E., Liebert, Melissa
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Department of Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 81/12(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Ballcourts, Ceramic dating, Hohokam ballcourts, Photogrammetry, Southwest, UAV
Publication Number: 27964015
ISBN: 9798641069463
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