Intrasite spatial analysis in archaeology
Post on 25-Dec-2016
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and micromorphology are used to show that the Italian Alpine foreland experienced a wet sub- tropical pedogenetic regime in the lower Pleistocene while in the German foreland hyperoceanic temperate interglacial conditions gave way to something more like the present more continental conditions in the middle Pleistocene.
Several papers deal with soils formed entirely on deposits of Late-glacial and Holocene age. The potential for investigating environmental conditions associated with evidence for particular pedo- genetic phases is somewhat higher for this period so these studies can provide useful analogues fat earlier soils, as well as giving information for human resource studies. Haywards study of the Severn alluvium is more descriptive than interpretative. It presents data on changes of soil properties with depth in alluvium of different texture, but offers little power of discrimination between factors of accretion and those of pedogenesis. Langohr and Sanders work on loess soils in the Zonien forest shows a suprisingly low degree of geomorphological change in steep-sided valleys, and very weak soil development. They are perhaps too dismissive of the possibility of significant human impact on the soils, but it is difficult to fault their argument. Holloways paper, in contrast, brings out the amount of detail obtainable from study of a Holocene sequence where the complexity of soil pattern and the composite nature of profiles forming on deposits accumulating in a variety of geomorphological situations can be studied, in comparison to the apparent simplicity of many interpretations of soils of earlier interglacials. It is also interesting to compare the nature of Holloways and Birkelands studies in semi-arid areas where aeolian deposition contributes to pedogenesis in progress, with those in areas where truncation rather than accretion is the fate more likely to overtake soil profiles.
Points which emerge repeatedly from these papers are the importance of recognition of cold climate features in soils whose active pedogenesis is predominantly that of warmer periods, the importance of better understanding of the phenomenon of rubification, the reddening of soils by formation of haematite, variously attributed to warmth, time, or both, the identification of argillic horizons and their interpretation in terms of soil-forming factors, and the value of micromorpho- logical studies in illuminating these and other pedological phenomena.
Susan Limbrey, University of Birmingham
(This review should have preceded the review of the Handbook for Soil Thin Section Description which appeared on p. 504 of this volume).
Zntrasite Spatial Analysis in Archaeology. Edited by Harold J. Hietala. 1984. iii+284 pp., figs, tables. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. $49.50. ISBN 0 521 25071 4.
Archaeology as a scientific analytic process depends heavily on the multilevelled organization of humanly produced ,residues. Regional, intrasite, and artifactual level manifestations of single behavioural process or conditions define an optimal structure for forming and testing ideas about the past with reasonably independent kinds of evidence. To take advantage of this data structure, however, archaeologists must be able to segregate, analyze, and assign meaning to relevant archaeo- logical variation at each of these levels with freedom from the others. Intrasite Spatial Analysis is a key contribution to archaeology because it fosters this capability at the intrasite level, which to date has remained more elusive than the others. This is done in two major ways.
First, Intrasite Spatial Analysis documents diverse patterns produced by societies that range widely in organization, from early hominid groups to archaic states. It thereby allows the reader to develop a feel for the kinds of data structures, relevant variables, and generative processes that are possible in various behavioral contexts. The reader will explore crescent-shaped refuse dumps indicating hut locations, architecturally unpartitioned and partitioned artifact scatters, patterning in architectural metrics of a community, and patterns among both proportional and absolute densities of artifact classes. Unfortunately, no systematic overview and comparison of data struc- tures, processes, and behavioral contexts is provided, so the reader must fend for him or herself in assembling an understanding of their relationships. To a great extent, this reflects the infant state of intrasite studies of behavior. However, one would have hoped for more guidance from the
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editor, for he clearly realized the importance of such comparisons: chapters are organized along data-structural rather than methodological lines.
A second strength of the volume is the attention it focuses on the multiple spatial scales at which behavioral and archaeological patterning can occur, and the variety of techniques that are necessary to explore them. This contrasts with quantitative spatial analyses to date, which have emphasized the summarization of global, site-wide relationships among artifact classes over the display of local variation in area-specific relationships among classes. Chapter 4 and editorial summaries by Hietala, and Chapter I3 by Whallon argue these points elegantly and present new strategies for exploring either multiple- or local-scale patterning. These parts are likely to have as great an impact on the philosophy and methods of intrasite spatial analysis over the next ten years as have Whallons (1973, 1974) earlier seminal works. Whallons contribution stands out for the additional reason that he provides a precise model of the characteristics of depositional and activity areas within hunter- gatherer sites. The model stipulates why local rather than global analyses are usually necessary to reveal patterning at the activity area and tool kit scale. Such bridging arguments relating algorithmic form to data structure whenjustifying technique are rare in archaeology today and to be highly valued. The details of Whallons technique and case study have been evaluated elsewhere (Carr, 1984, 1985).
Not all of the technical innovations introduced in Zntrasite Spatial Analysis are laudable. The MRPP method of Berry et al. (Chapter 5) despite its statistical methodological elegance, is highly discordant with the archaeological structures it is meant to reveal, except under the simplest of circumstances. This technique is designed to evaluate the degree of spatial correspondence of distributions of different artifact classes in order to shed light on activity and depositional processes. However, its median location, median distance, and concentration measures are behaviorally mean- ingless pooled averages when each artifact type is represented by more than one spatial cluster and the measures are calculated globally. Also, MRPPs statistical test of the significance of differential distribution of two artifact classes is based on relative rather than absolute distance considerations. It is thus encumbered by two general problems of relative-distance measures of association that have been discussed elsewhere for Pielous Segregation Analysis method (Carr, 1984: 177-l 78). Hodders A coefficient, used in Chapter 7 by Hivernel and Hodder to measure the coarrangement of pairs of artifact classes, suffers from these same problems. Johnsons (Chapter 6) method of Local Density Analysis is also designed to measure the coarrangement of artifact classes. It fares better than MRPP and the A coefficient in its concordance with the general structure of archaeological records. However, by using a global average of local artifact densitites when assessing coarrangement, it can meaninglessly pool the effects of locally different patterns of coarrangement, along the lines argued in Whallons chapter. Also, Johnsons data reduction procedures for summarizing artifact class relationships are convoluted and invite loss of analytic control and interpretability. These involve calculating summary correlation coefficients among the columns of a correspondence analysis factor matrix derived from association indices, in turn derived from smoothed locational data! Whallons (Chapter 13) plea for methodological simplicity is appropriate here.
A number of the spatial analyses described in the book (Chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12) use common global methods for purposes and in circumstances where Hietala and Whallon would question their validity. These internal contradictions in the book reflect the rapid rate at which the field of intrasite spatial analysis is developing and should not be criticized. Not excusable, however, is Ferrings (Chapter 8) long-outdated model of the archaeological records produced by mobile populations. This construct postulates a monothetic, non-overlapping, building block organization popularized by Struever (1968) and makes little use of the insights that have been gained into intrasite formation processes through ethnoarchaeology since the mid-1970s. Hivernel and Hodders (Chapter 7) con- tribution is similarly dated. In sharp contrast is Kroll and Isaacs (Chapter 4) careful discussion of the alternative forms of archaeological patterns that can arise through different natural taphonomic processes and basic hominid behaviors.
Data smoothing, through interpolation with local operator functions or through choice of grid cell size, is a critical topic in spatial analysis. Johnson (p. 81) rightly points out that it is often unnecessary and inefficient to document and analyze the exact locations of artifacts, which reflect processes that are irrelevant to past behavior (noise) in addition to behavioral information. He suggests using artifact densities in small grid cells (e.g. 20 x 20 cm), which smooth out noise and focus attention on relevant patterns-an insight that Hivernel and Hodder (p. 100) do not appreciate.
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Johnson and Whallon also use various smoothing procedures to do this. These studies move in the right direction and, equally important, for the right reasons. They do, however, overlook some important analytic issues: how different degrees of smoothing can resolve different generative processes at different scales, as affected by operator width or search radius (pp. 83,88,245,248); the effects of aliasing error with gridded data; the compromise that needs to be negotiated between ideal smoothing and the introduction of undesirable polarity reversals, affected by operator form (pp. 83, 245); the inaccuracy of smoothing twice sequentially rather than once (p. 246); and the directional biases involved when smoothing in the spatial as opposed to Fourier domain. These issues have been discussed in detail elsewhere (Carr, 1986).
Other strengths to watch for include: the exemplary use by Cowgill et al. of inductive exploratory analysis and explicit hunches to work their way into a complex data structure; Kroll and Isaacs method of physically laying out all artifacts from an occupation floor in their proper position during inductive, pattern-searching stages of spatial analysis in order to gain insights and test hunches; Hietalas idea of using log-linear models and symmetry tests to search for bidirectional relation- ships among artifact joins in different areas; and a number of thoughtful suggestions for future studies made by Hietala in the last chapter.
Intrasite Spatial Analysis is a benchmark publication for archaeology. It reflects the current state of spatial studies, addresses key methodological problems, introduces some seminal solutions, and suggests many productive areas for future research. Because the work captures a field in great flux and experimentation, the reader must be discriminating about the strategies that he or she chooses as models of research. This is always true of needed endeavors in such times.
References Carr, C. (1984). The nature of organization of intrasite archaeological records and spatial analytic approaches
to their investigation. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 7,103-l 22. Carr, C. (1985). Alternative models, alternative techniques: variable approaches to intrasite spatial analysis, In
(C. Carr, Ed.) For Concordance in Archaeological Analysis: Bridging Data Structure, Quantitative Technique, and Theory, pp. 302473. Kansas City, MO: Westport Publishers.
Carr, C. (1986). Dissecting intrasite artifact palimpsests using Fourier methods. In (S. Kent, Ed.) Methodand Theoryfor Activity Area Research, Chapter 5. New York: Columbia University Press.
Struever, S. (1968). Woodland subsistence-settlement systems in the lower Illinois valley. In (S. R. Binford & L. R. Binford, Eds.) New Perspectives in Archaeology, pp. 285-312. Chicago: Aldine.
Whallon, R. (1973). Spatial analysis of occupation floors I: application of dimensional analysis of variance. American Antiquity 38,32&328.
Whallon R. (1974). Spatial analysis of occupation floors II: the application of nearest neighbor analysis. American Antiquity 39, 1634.
Christopher Carr, Arizona State University
The Analysis of Animal Bones from Archaeological Sites. By R. G. Klein and K. Cruz- Uribe. 1984. xii+266 pp., figures and tables, bibliography, index. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press. L8.30. ISBN 0 226 43958 5.
Klein and Cruz-Uribe succeed in their expressed aim of providing a modern introduction, for specialists and other archaeologists, to the principles of fauna1 analysis. As befits a textbook of the 198Os, the book begins with the problem of distinguishing variability in fauna1 assemblages caused by human behaviour from that caused by other ecological or taphonomic factors. Whilst recogniz- ing the importance of actualistic studies, particularly for understanding taphonomic processes, the authors rightly argue that long-term, postdepositional processes cannot be observed in the present, so an important role remains for controlled comparison of fossil assemblages. The evidence of bone modification (weathering, gnawing etc.) and depositional context (sediments, pollen etc.) can often be used to control two of the three factors governing assemblage compositions: ancient environment, collecting agent and postdepositional history. To produce useful and reliable infor- mation, comparisons must also be conducted on a large scale: the remainder of this book discusses