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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: SOCIAL INEQUALITY AT LATE CLASSIC COPÁN, HONDURAS: MODELING MOBILITY IN GIS
Author: HEATHER RICHARDS-RISSETTO, KRISTIN LANDAU   
Date/Time: Thu., 3:15 PM
Co-Author(s): HEATHER RICHARDS-RISSETTO, KRISTIN LANDAU 
Abstract: Although archaeologists have long considered where ancient people built houses, ritual structures, whole communities and principal centers, it has been difficult to assess human circulation among these features within the natural environment. Successful mobility from one point to another is predicated on a tension between what one can see upon starting, markers along the way, and what one has the ability to access, whether constrained by practical or cultural factors. Previous research in the Maya region suggests that certain areas were highly visible, but virtually inaccessible, vice versa or neither; native cosmological paradigms and information on sociopolitical relations provide a cultural lens through which to make sense of such inequalities. Our research utilizes Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to measure the impact of both cultural and natural features on access and visibility—factors serving as proxies to (re)construct potential circulation patterns at the Late Classic (AD 600-900) center of Copán, Honduras. Interpreting the mobility patterns as indicators of social connectivity, sociopolitical control, and ultimately social inequality, we were able to reevaluate both traditional classifications of site types and previously applied indigenous spatial models. Multi-scalar settlement analysis from the level of the city to specific “paired” architectural groups reveals differential degrees of social integration and segregation based on site type, ritual importance and geographic location. Finally, our analyses prove GIS to be a productive archaeological technique to engage the study of past movement, social inequality and related anthropological questions.

Program Number: 2-0645
Session Title: METHODS IN MESOAMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 1:45 PM-3:30 PM
Organizer(s): ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAM COMMITTEE (AAA) 
Chair(s): HEATHER RICHARDS-RISSETTO  
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