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Northern Arizona University (2015)

A GIS analysis of ancient human trails, human behavioral ecology, and agency in the Mojave and Colorado Desert

Murphy, Timothy J., IV

Titre : A GIS analysis of ancient human trails, human behavioral ecology, and agency in the Mojave and Colorado Desert

Auteur : Murphy, Timothy J., IV

Université de soutenance : Northern Arizona University

Grade : Master of Arts (MS) 2015

Résumé
The environment of the Mojave and Colorado Desert poses challenging conditions to human travel in the form of exposure to intense weather and accessibility to important water sources. Environmental constraints of the Mojave and Colorado Desert force people to consider energy-efficient modes of travel. This thesis explores the relationship between environmental constraints and route selections of ancient humans. Route selection of ancient humans is investigated by calculating the energy costs of existing trails made by ancient humans in the Mojave and Colorado Desert. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis and ESRI ArcMap 10.2 Least-Cost Path tool enables comparisons between ancient human trails and least-cost paths. Energy cost values for each trail and adjacent least-cost paths are calculated using the “Pandolf Equation” (Pandolf et al. 1977). Comparisons of energy costs between trails and least-cost paths indicate that ancient humans selected routes that are energy-efficient. In addition, this analysis identified potential examples of route selection that do not follow trends of energy efficiency. Both results of trail and least-cost path comparisons suggest that people are aware of environmental constraints and often choose energy-efficient routes, and people sometimes choose routes regardless of environmental constraints. Indications of awareness and choice against the norm of energy efficiency identify characteristics of Agency (Bourdieu 1998) and Human Behavioral Ecology (Bird and O’Connell 2006) in relationships between ancient human travel behavior and environmental constraints

Mots clés : Least-cost path, Mojave trails, Geographic information science, Cultural anthropology, Archaeology, Human behavioral ecology, GIS, Earth sciences, Social sciences

Présentation (GradWorks)

Page publiée le 16 novembre 2015, mise à jour le 22 décembre 2017