CAA Conference has ended
Wednesday, March 28 • 2:00pm - 6:15pm
3 - Can points, polygons, and lines represent dynamic and differing spatial landscapes of hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and fisher-folk? An example of the role of GIS in understanding Holocene archaeology in the Lake Turkana basin in Northern Kenya

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This paper aims to illuminate and explore various spatial constraints and models of landscape use by peoples utilizing differing economic strategies. During the Mid Holocene in Northern Kenya and over a period of 7,000 years, populations of people practiced hunter-gathering, fishing, and herding as primary subsistence strategies. These changes in subsistence strategy happens on a backdrop of climate change and changes in resource availability. Each of these strategies has distinct ways of utilizing the landscape and differing resource bases. For instance people dependent on fishing utilize the lakeshore environment and are attempting to exploit the seasonal movements of fish stock in near-shoreline aquatic environments. Pastoralists use broad areas of the landscape in search of pasture but in linear mobile fashion. How do we construct and incorporate these differing concepts into our unified paleogeographic information system? Are these differing spatial models compatible? This paper seeks to understand the underlying coupled nature of historic landscape use and climatic controls, resource tethering, and mobility. We will report on our field studies from Lake Turkana on resource distribution, raw material sources for the manufacture of stone tools, stylistic and technology geographic variation in worked bone tools and land use patterning over a regional geography and through time. The will compare modern pastoralist land use with our emerging understanding of pastoralist and foraging patterns of land use through history. We hope our findings will demonstrate the diversity and mobility patterns among Holocene fishing/foraging/herder adaptations. In addition to developing predictive models of land use during these different periods we want to reach towards explanatory models that help us to incorporate nuanced understanding of these issues. This paper will explore the tension between the use of modern analogs of land use and the scale of archaeological proxies for modeling past land use and how to incorporate and best represent these spatial concepts within our geographic information system modeling.


Loretta Dibble

Rutgers University

Wednesday March 28, 2012 2:00pm - 6:15pm BST
Building 65, Lecture Theatre C

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