A spatial analysis of Iroquoian longhouses: Visualizing diversity
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The purpose of this research is to examine the ways that archaeologists work with the concept of social complexity within their own research area, and identify an alternative method to recognize social complexity in the diversity of the archaeological record. Without some objective standard of identifying complexity, there can be no objective comparisons, as everything becomes a comparison of apples to oranges. In attempting to evaluate a standard measure, the one item found on all archaeological sites, artifacts, are used to find patterning useful for determining behavioral conditioning of the individual by a culture. To undertake the demonstration of how this concept can be applied to an archaeological framework, pattern recognition statistics were used to examine dwelling spaces of archaeological sites. The resulting model should allow archaeologists to reevaluate their own areas of study in terms of objective measures of complexity based on statistical object patterning rather than subjective social phenomena that are judged important by a culture other than those who lived within it. The model was generated using the data from seven Iroquoian longhouse examples. These sites were chosen for several reasons. First is due to the opportunity afforded in answering questions about the debated level of complexity attributed to the Iroquoian culture. Second, on a more practical level is the recognition of the relatively simple technology of the material culture which served to limit the types of artifact classes and allowed the statistical processing to stay relatively simple for the generation and explanation of the study. The third reason is the fact that the Iroquoian longhouse structure in the Late Woodland period has a distinctive layout and function which was documented during the periods of early contact with European colonizers, helping to flesh out the archaeological record and serve, in some ways, to explain the patterning which is visible.