Geospatial landscape permeability modeling for archaeology: A case study of food storage in northern Michigan


As archaeologists continue to be interested in understanding how people encountered and engaged with past landscapes, layering them with social knowledge, it is important to harness geospatial techniques that are not tethered analytically to discrete points and can represent the flow of processes across a whole landscape. This paper explores landscape permeability modeling as one such geospatial approach. Applied archaeologically, permeability modeling examines the degree to which a given landscape, with a specific mix of physical and social variables, was conducive to the movement of people and the flow of social, economic, political, and/or ideological processes. An archaeological case study is presented that uses a resistant-kernel permeability model to examine food storage suitability in an inland lake landscape in northern Michigan during Late Precontact (ca. AD 1100/1200 – 1600) and how people in their intimate, day-to-day, encounters with this landscape understood the storage potential(s) of this matrix. While a specific case is detailed in this paper, the procedures employed are adaptable to other archaeological landscapes.


Earth Systems Research Center, Anthropology

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Journal of Archaeological Science



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