Amy Thompson Lead Author on Journal of Archaeological Science Article

Departmental News

Posted:  Jul 16, 2018 - 12:00am

Doctoral candidate Amy Thompson was lead author on an article, Comparing Geostatistical Analyses for the Identification of Neighborhoods, Districts, and Social Communities in Archaeological Contexts: A Case Study from Two Ancient Maya Centers in Southern Belize, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, one of the highest ranked journals in archaeology.  Her paper uses spatial statistics to identify how ancient Maya residential communities organized themselves into neighborhoods and political districts.  Co-authors were Clayton Meredith, doctoral candidate in Archaeology, and Dr. Keith Prufer. 


Ancient communities are composed of social units at varying scales although these units and the geospatial methods used to define them are rarely discussed in the archaeological literature. Recent studies emphasize the presence of neighborhoods and districts in low density urban communities, increasing the need for more discussion on how these units are defined and measured. We use new and previous field and remote sensing settlement survey data of two Classic Period (AD 300–900) Maya centers located in southern Belize, Uxbenká and Ix Kuku'il, and compare several geostatistical and geospatial methods to identify the presence of neighborhoods and districts. We found that results vary based on the method and linkages they use, therefore the methods used in similar analyses will significantly impact the archaeological interpretations of settlement distributions. Using multiple methods for the identification of neighborhoods, districts, and social units within archaeological contexts enables more holistic interpretations of settlement distributions.  To read the full article, click here