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Forms of settlement inequality over space. A GIS-based method for measuring differences among settlements

AuthorsParcero-Oubiña, César CSIC ORCID ; Nión, Samuel
KeywordsSettlement analysis
Settlement inequality
Defensive architecture
Spatial analysis
Iron Age
NW Iberian Peninsula
Issue DateFeb-2021
CitationJournal of Archaeological Science 35: 102739 (2021)
AbstractArchitecture has always been a privileged arena for the negotiation and contestation of social and political positions, identities and hegemony. The mechanisms through which architecture is used within these contexts are an essential part of the political economy of a group or a larger polity. However, such mechanisms are often resistant to quantitative approaches. In this paper, we present a case study that assesses, in a quantitative and systematic way, the different forms that such mechanisms could have adopted over a large area. The case study deals with settlements in the NW Iberian Peninsula dating from the Iron Age, towards the end of which different economies of power existed, implying different forms of social complexity and different uses of material culture and architecture to create and express them. We describe a method to measure the relative importance of two alternative forms of building and expressing settlement inequality: one based on population size and the other based on the display of elaborate complexes of defensive earthworks. By quantifying and comparing three variables (extension of settlement areas, percentage of total area occupied by defensive earthworks and effort invested in their construction), some basic statistical indicators were obtained, suggesting a systematic pattern for our study area: size-based differences in some sectors, and differences expressed mostly through defensive monumentality in others.
Publisher version (URL)
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102739
issn: 0305-4403
e-issn: 1095-9238
Appears in Collections:(INCIPIT) Artículos

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