Presentation Title

Ancient (In)Security in the Upper Salt River Canyon, Arizona

Project Collaborators

John Welch (Collaborating Mentor)

Abstract

Regional tension can inspire the construction of tactical sites in defensive locations, indicating community interest in monitoring landscapes and controlling access. Geographical, site location, and architectural data provide bases for considering decisions about why, where, and how people assert interests in security in response to inter-community or inter-regional relationship dynamics. Terrain analysis in ArcGIS enables assessments of geographical distributions of tactical sites, spatial scales of social insecurity, and possible relationships based on intervisibility among sites. The spatial analysis described here uses site location data to calculate individual tactical site’s visibility to evaluate how communities were organized around what and how much they can see. The relationships among inter-visibility, interaudibility, and viewshed provide insights into sociopolitical dynamics. Defensibility and line-of-sight criteria are used to understand relationships among fortified sites in the context of regional and interregional settlement dynamics from 1200 to 1400.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Scott Van Keuren

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Anthropology

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

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Ancient (In)Security in the Upper Salt River Canyon, Arizona

Regional tension can inspire the construction of tactical sites in defensive locations, indicating community interest in monitoring landscapes and controlling access. Geographical, site location, and architectural data provide bases for considering decisions about why, where, and how people assert interests in security in response to inter-community or inter-regional relationship dynamics. Terrain analysis in ArcGIS enables assessments of geographical distributions of tactical sites, spatial scales of social insecurity, and possible relationships based on intervisibility among sites. The spatial analysis described here uses site location data to calculate individual tactical site’s visibility to evaluate how communities were organized around what and how much they can see. The relationships among inter-visibility, interaudibility, and viewshed provide insights into sociopolitical dynamics. Defensibility and line-of-sight criteria are used to understand relationships among fortified sites in the context of regional and interregional settlement dynamics from 1200 to 1400.