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GIS analysis of agricultural strategies and landscape use on ancient Black Mesa, Northern Arizona

Behling, Emma (2021) GIS analysis of agricultural strategies and landscape use on ancient Black Mesa, Northern Arizona. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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I investigate Ancestral Puebloan agricultural land use on Black Mesa, a grand physiographic feature in northeastern Arizona, in order to understand relationships between households/large villages and agricultural lands between C.E. 800 and C.E. 1150 (Pueblo I and Pueblo II Periods). For this investigation I use existing spatial data from 20 years of intensive archaeological survey and excavation on the Peabody Coal Company Lease Area on northern Black Mesa. Black Mesa Archaeological Project (BMAP) researchers identified over 1500 ancient archaeological sites in the study area. My current project aims to identify potential and probable agricultural field sites with respect to a sample of 369 Ancestral Puebloan settlements and the seasonal or permanent habitations on Black Mesa using human behavioral ecology and circuit theory modeling approaches. Factors that support or inhibit agricultural use of land are identified and mapped overlapping one another to identify the areas of optimal agricultural utility in relation to sites. The resulting ArcGIS predictive model seeks to identify possible agricultural landscape use patterns and interactions between permanent settlement and seasonal farming sites. The project develops new data through modern imagery classification as a proxy testing method for the accuracy of the GIS model and surveys of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers to look for spatial software research applications that may be useful in tribally driven research, with respect to ArcGIS methods. Project results include the identification of potential and probable agricultural field sites with respect to known Ancestral Puebloan settlements on Black Mesa, and understanding of the value and utility of employed GIS analyses through analysis of contemporary use in indigenous scholarship.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Peleo invention of agriculture; Black Mesa, Arizona; GIS; Predictive Model; Ancestral puebloans;
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Anthropology
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2022 17:31
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2022 17:31
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5724

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