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Friday, April 1 • 10:55 - 11:20
S13-06 Computational approaches for studying cultural coexistence in Peru’s urban landscape: Contributions and questions

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Computational approaches for studying cultural coexistence in Peru’s urban landscape: Contributions and questions

Kayeleigh Sharp

New work on the north coast of Peru has produced a complex picture of ancient lifeways that challenges the wide-held conceptions of cultural coexistence in the region. Major decorated, funerary monuments and large-scale urban centers of a group known as the Mochica have received a lion's share of attention for over a century. As a result of this highly skewed sampling, very little is known about daily life and internal organization and dynamics at smaller cities or non-monumental administrative centers. Recent research at the Songoy-Cojal site complex, a mid-sized center in the Zaña Valley, has taken major strides to overcome this lacuna. By applying a combination of image-based 3D modeling and spatial analysis techniques, this work has begun to transform the way quotidian relationships between the Gallinazo and Mochica civilizations are perceived and analyzed. In this micro-scale analysis of interior spaces, 3D models were used to create detailed maps and carry out in-depth architectural analysis, while high-powered spatial statistical analysis including geographically weighted regression, and multi-distance spatial cluster analysis was conducted to model spatial relationships, determine whether statistically significant clustering or dispersion of features and their attributes was observed over the site, and to explore spatial relationships between different types of activity areas. Combined, these techniques were useful for elucidating various aspects of Gallinazo and Mochica social differentiation and technological diversity that were nearly impossible to detect using non-computational strategies. Most importantly, it has been possible to challenge decades-old research that has served to inappropriately dichotomize the relationship (e.g., superordinate versus subordinate) between these groups, moving well beyond the use of computational tools for descriptive model building. While exploring the analytical potential that combined photogrammetric and spatial statistical approaches hold for the future of archaeological investigation, this work contributes significantly to our understanding of small-scale urbanism on Peru’s north coast.

Friday April 1, 2016 10:55 - 11:20 CEST
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