Intensive Predictive Mapping of Surface Topography at Archaeological Sites in Peru

Intensive Predictive Mapping of Surface Topography at Archaeological Sites in Peru

Matthew Piscitelli, Johnathan Haas and Winifred Creamer

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Abstract

Limited resources often hamper archaeologists’ ability to accurately identify promising areas to excavate at large-scale sites. High-resolution maps can serve as predictive tools for locating subsurface architecture based on patterns in surface topography. This paper presents recent intensive mapping conducted at three Late Archaic (3,000-1,800 B. C. E.) archaeological sites in the Fortaleza Valley of Peru. Total station data were used to generate 3D surface maps in ArcGIS to delineate elevation changes in fine-grained detail. Distinctive features on the surface and microtopography reveal small-scale patterns that can inform our choices for targeted excavations. This procedure will provide a methodological tool for finding subsurface architecture at large-scale sites elsewhere.

Keywords: Mapping, methodology, Andean archaeology, Peru, GIS

Download Full Text – Piscitelli et al 2013

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