Irmela HERZOG / Alden YÉPEZ
Outline: The main objectives are: (i) to analyse the conditions that must be fulfilled for a successful density reconstruction of settlement patterns based on survey data and (ii) to present a new method for creating density maps that takes the friction of the landscape into account.
Abstract: At a regional scale, find density analysis based on survey data is often applied to reconstruct settlement patterning. However, this is by no means a trivial task because the finds recovered during the survey often are not a random sample of the initial distribution. Moreover the density estimation method plays an important role. A check list is presented with conditions that must be fulfilled for a successful density reconstruction of settlement patterns based on finds. Moreover, a new method for creating density maps is suggested which takes the friction of the landscape into account. Density methods based on distances derived from straight-line connections are only appropriate in landscapes with low variation in friction. However in regions with steep slopes, boggy terrain or streams that cannot be traversed easily, map distances often grossly underestimate the true effort required to transport goods from A to B. Least-cost path analysis has been applied successfully in some archaeological studies to reconstruct prehistoric and historic movement patterns. As human movement patterns of the past largely determine the distribution of artefacts, find density analysis should take these patterns into account. This is performed by modifying the kernel density method. The test case for the ideas presented above are shovel probe and surface collection data from an East Andean region in Ecuador.
Keywords: survey, GIS, settlement patterns, kernel density estimation, least-cost paths