Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Settlement and Landscape Archaeology, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2001

Settlement and Landscape Archaeology, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2001

|Views: 106|Likes:
Published by ArchaeoinAction

More info:

Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: ArchaeoinAction on Nov 12, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





International Encyclopedia of the Socialand Behavioral Sciences
edited by Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes2001Elsevier, Amsterdam
Settlement and Landscape Archaeology
For contemporary archaeology, settlement and land-scape approaches represent an increasingly importantfocus that is vital for a core mission of the disciplineto describe, understand, and explain long-termcultural and behavioral change. Despite this signi-ficance, few syntheses of this topic have been under-taken (cf. Parsons 1972, Ammerman 1981, Fish andKowalewski 1990, Billman and Feinman 1999). Yetsettlement and landscape approaches provide the onlylarge-scale perspective for the majority of premodernsocieties. These studies are reliant on archaeologicalsurface surveys, which discover and record the dis-tribution of material traces of past human presence
habitation across a landscape (see
ey anExca
ation (Field Methods) in Archaeology
). Theexamination and analysis of these physical remainsfound on the ground surface (e.g., potsherds, stoneartifacts, house foundations, or earthworks) providethe empirical foundation for the interpretation of ancient settlement patterns and landscapes.
1. Historical Backgroun
Although the roots of settlement pattern and land-scape approaches extend back to the end of thenineteenth century, archaeological survey has onlycome into its own in the post World War II era.Spurred by the analytical emphases of Steward (1938),Willey’s Viru
Valley archaeological survey (1953)providedakeyimpetusforsettlementpattern researchin the Americas. In contrast, the landscape approach,which has a more focal emphasis on the relationshipbetween sites and their physical environments, has itsrootsintheUK.Nevertheless,contemporaryarchaeo-logical studies indicate a high degree of intellectualcross-fertilization between these different surface ap-proaches.
1.1 Early Foundations for Archaeological Sur
ey inthe Americas and England 
The American settlement pattern tradition stems backto scholars, such as Morgan (1881), who queried howthe remnants of Native American residential archi-tecture reflected the social organization of the nativepeoples who occupied them. Yet the questions posedby Morgan led to relatively few immediate changes inhow archaeology was practiced, and for severaldecades few scholars endeavored to address thespecific questions regarding the relationship betweensettlement and social behavior that Morgan posed.When surface reconnaissance was undertaken byarchaeologists, it tended to be a largely unsystematicexercise carried out to find sites worthy of excavation.In the UK, the landscape approach, pioneered byFox (1922), was more narrowly focused on thedefinition of distributional relationships between dif-ferent categories of settlements and environmentalfeatures (e.g., soils, vegetation, topography). Oftenthese early studies relied on and summarized surveysand excavations that were carried out by numerousinvestigators using a variety of field procedures ratherthan more uniform or systematic coverage imple-mented by a single research team. At the same time,the European landscape tradition generally has had acloserlinktoromanticthoughtasopposedtothemorepositivistic roots of the North American settlementpattern tradition (e.g., Sherratt 1996).
1.2 The De
elopment of Settlement Archaeology
By the 1930s and 1940s, US archaeologists working inseveral global regions recognized that changing pat-ternsofsocialorganizationcouldnotbereconstructedand interpreted through empirical records that reliedexclusively on the excavation of a single site orcommunity within a specific region. For example, inthe lower Mississippi Valley, Phillips et al. (1951)located and mappedarchaeological sitesacross a largearea to analyze shifting patterns of ceramic styles andsettlements over broad spatial domains and temporalcontexts.Yet the most influential and problem-focused inves-tigation of that era was that of Willey in the Viru
Valley. Willey’s project was the first to formallyelucidate the scope and potential analytical utility of settlement patterns for understanding long-termchange in human economic and social relationships.His vision moved beyond the basic correlation of environmental features and settlements as well asbeyond the mere definition of archtypical settlementtypes for a given region. In addition to its theoreticalcontributions, the Viru
program also was innovativemethodologically, employing (for the first time in theWestern Hemisphere) vertical air photographs in thelocation and mapping of ancient settlements. Al-13937
though Willey did not carry out his survey entirely onfoot, he did achieve reasonably systematic arealcoverage for a defined geographic domain for whichhe could examine changes in the frequency of sitetypes, as well as diachronic shifts in settlementpatterns.Conceptually and methodologically, these earlysettlement pattern projects of the 1930s and 1940sestablished the intellectual underpinnings for a num-ber of multigenerational regional archaeological sur-vey programs that were initiated in at least four globalregions during the 1950s and 1960s. In many ways,these later survey programs were integral to thetheoretical and methodological re-evaluations thatoccurredinarchaeological thoughtand practiceunderthe guise of ‘the New Archaeology’ or processualism.The latter theoretical framework stemmed in partfrom an expressed emphasis on understanding long-term processes of behavioral change and culturaltransition at the population (and so regional) scale.This perspective, which replaced a more normativeemphasis on archtypical sites or cultural patterns, wasmade possible to a significant degree by the noveldiachronic and broad scalar vantages pieced togetherfor specific areas through systematic regional settle-ment pattern fieldwork and analysis.
1.3 Large
scale Regional Sur
ey Programs
During the 1950s through the 1970s, major regionalsettlement pattern programs were initiated in theheartlands of three areas where early civilizationsemerged (Greater Mesopotamia, highland Mexico,and the Aegean), as well as in one area known for itsrich and diverse archaeological heritage (the South-west USA). The achievements of the Viru
project alsostimulated continued Andean settlement pattern sur-veys, although a concerted push for regional researchdid not take root there until somewhat later (e.g.,Parsons et al. 1997, Billman and Feinman 1999).Beginning in 1957, Robert M. Adams (e.g., 1965,1981) and his associates methodically traversed thedeserts and plains of the Near East by jeep, mappingearthen tells and other visible sites. Based on thecoverage of hundreds of square kilometers, thesepioneering studies of regional settlement historyserved to unravel some of the processes associatedwith the early emergence of social, political, andeconomic complexity in Greater Mesopotamia.Shortly thereafter, in highland Mexico, large-scale,systematic surveys were initiated in the area’s twolargest mountain valleys (the Basin of Mexico and theValley of Oaxaca). These two projects implementedfield-by-field, pedestrian coverage of some of thelargest contiguous survey regions in the world, eluci-dating the diachronic settlement patterns for regionsin which some of the earliest and most extensive citiesin the ancient Americas were situated (e.g., Sanders etal. 1979, Blanton et al. 1993). After decades, abouthalf of the Basin of Mexico and almost the entireValley of Oaxaca were traversed by foot.In the Aegean, regional surveys (McDonald andRapp 1972, Renfrew 1972) were designed to placeimportant sites with long excavation histories inbroader spatial contexts. Once again, these investi-gations brought new regional vantages to areas thatalready had witnessed decades of excavation andtextual analyses. Over the same period, settlementpattern studies were carried out in diverse ecologicalsettingsacrosstheUSSouthwest,primarilytoexaminethe differential distributions of archaeological sites inrelation to their natural environments, and to de-termine changes in the numbers and sizes of settle-ments across the landscape over time. In each of theareas investigated, the wider the study domaincovered, the more diverse and complex were thepatterns found. Growth in one part of a larger studyarea was often timed with the decrease in the size andnumber of sites in another. And settlement trends forgiven regions generally were reflected in episodes of both growth and decline.Each of these major survey regions (including muchof the Andes) is an arid to semiarid environment.Without question, broad-scale surface surveys havebeen most effectively implemented in regions that lackdense ground cover, and therefore the resultant fieldfindings have been most robust. In turn, these findingshave fomented long research traditions carried out bytrained crews, thereby contributing to the intellectualrewards of these efforts. As Ammerman (1981, p. 74)has recognized, ‘major factors in the success of theprojects would appear to be the sheer volume of workdone and the experience that workers have graduallybuilt up over the years.’
1.4 Settlement Pattern Research at Smaller Scalesof Analysis
Although settlement pattern approaches were mostbroadly applied at the regional scale, other studiesfollowed similar conceptual principles in the exam-ination of occupational surfaces, structures, andcommunities. At the scale of individual living surfacesor house floors, such distributional analyses haveprovidedkeyindicationsastowhichactivities (suchascooking, food preparation, and toolmaking) wereundertaken in different sectors (activity areas) of specific structures (e.g., Flannery and Winter 1976) orsurfaces (e.g., Flannery 1986, pp. 321–423). In manyrespects, the current emphasis on household arch-aeology (e.g., Wilk and Rathje 1982) is an extensionof settlement pattern studies (see
Household Archae
). Both household and settlement pattern ap-proaches have fostered a growing interest in the non-elite sector of complex societies, and so have spurredthe effort to understand societies as more than justundifferentiated, normative wholes.13938
Settlement and Landscape Archaeology

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->