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A Method for Defining Dispersed Community Territories

28 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2023 Publication Status: Under Review

See all articles by Kenneth Blake Vernon

Kenneth Blake Vernon

University of Colorado at Boulder

Scott Ortman

Department of Archaeology, University of Colorado Boulder

Abstract

The transition from dispersed to aggregated forms of settlement reflects a critical shift in the relative value of social and primary (food) modes of production. Investigating trade-offs between them, however, requires estimates of the extent of community territories, including their nearby arable land. Here we demonstrate a simple algorithm to do that. Our algorithm is analogous to that used to define core-based statistical areas for the US census, though instead of modern metropolitan areas, we rely on community centers (or areas of known and persistent interaction between unrelated individuals). We provide examples of our algorithm by applying it to archaeological sites in the central Mesa Verde, northern Rio Grande, and Cibola regions. Together, these data provide a comprehensive, high resolution record of prehistoric maize farming in the North American Southwest, representing varying levels of aggregation and dispersal through time.

Keywords: Aggregation, Core-Based Statistical Area, Community Detection, Intensification, Least-cost Path Analysis, Population Density

Suggested Citation

Vernon, Kenneth Blake and Ortman, Scott, A Method for Defining Dispersed Community Territories. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4607374 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4607374

Kenneth Blake Vernon (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

Boulder, CO CO 80309
United States

Scott Ortman

Department of Archaeology, University of Colorado Boulder ( email )

CO

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