Lay summary authored by Dan Rafuse. Read the full paper here: http://doi.org/10.5334/oq.97
The detection of archaeological sites in the southern Pampas region of Argentina offers significant challenges due to the extension of the landscape, and the natural and modern cultural processes. With thousands of shallow lakes, multiple levels of streams, and variable changes in elevations, the finding of archaeological material is difficult for archaeologists. Traditional survey strategies are usually guided by informants, such as local landowners or farmers, who come across isolated remains or sites. The riverbanks, streams, and shallow lakes are also useful starting points. During wet periods, the riverbanks and streams erosion expose older deposits, giving archaeologists a window into the buried record. In order to help aid in the discovery of more archaeological sites, a computer-generated predictive model may offer archaeologists an innovative method for the detection of new sites.
Among the available tools for archaeological predictive modelling, Maximum Entropy Modeling (Maxent) is one of the most widely used computer-based approaches. These models can help guide archaeological survey by identify the contributing environmental variables (land-use choices) used by hunter-gatherers, as well as provide insight into mobility and archaeological settlement patterns. Maxent has been broadly used by archaeologists to predict archaeological site locations in different environments and time-periods around the world. The model is a flexible cost-effective way to identify areas most likely to reveal the presence of archeological sites.
After controlling for bias and adjustment of several modifiable parameters, the Maxent software provided a potentially effective predictive model to direct archaeological survey and heritage management in the southern Pampas region. The results of this research suggest that environmental variables; in particular watercourses and slope, were some of the key environmental factors influencing the distribution of hunter-gatherer archaeological sites in the southern Pampas region. The results from this study also reinforced the need for using standardized protocols when working with computer generated distribution models. In order for our models to improve, we need to continue to use these protocols to enhance transparency, reproducibility, evaluation and reuse in the research.
Read the full paper here: Rafuse, D.J., 2021. A Maxent Predictive Model for Hunter-Gatherer Sites in the Southern Pampas, Argentina. Open Quaternary, 7(1), p.6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/oq.97