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The Method and Theory of Site Catchment Analysis: A Review Author(s): Donna C.

Roper Reviewed work(s): Source: Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, Vol. 2 (1979), pp. 119-140 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20170144 . Accessed: 27/02/2012 20:50
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The Method and Theory of Site Catchment Analysis: A Review


DONNA C. ROPER

in theme is a basic of cultural phenomena spatial distribution area concept of the concept The culture 1939), (Kroeber archaeology. horizon 1958:33), and the notion of a settlement (Willey and Phillips have in which archaeologists pattern (Willey 1953:1) are but three ways in the description ordered space. The current interest of archaeologists and drawn from geography and explanation of site location using methods can perhaps be viewed as simply the latest variation on related disciplines of two books on the topic (Hod this basic theme. The recent publication der and Orton 1976; Clarke 1977b) and the inclusion of two papers on The in this volume should certainly be various aspects of locational analysis in archaeology seen as some indicator of the status of locational analysis in the second half of the 1970s. literature (or one of of the locational analysis Even cursory examination see especially and Orton Hodder of this literature, the recent syntheses a broad diversity or Hodder in approach and tech 1976; 1977) reveals of this literature would roughly distinguish nique. One characterization of the importance two sets of approaches. The first set emphasizes man-man of space. in structuring a community's ordering relationships the rank-size rule, and theory, place others, would be included in this set of locational are discussed in elsewhere models by Crumley in the second group Locational approaches Central among gravity models, Three such approaches. this volume. assume of the primacy

119
ADVANCES INARCHAEOLOGICALMETHOD AND THEORY, VOL. 2 Copyright ? 1979 by Academic Press, Inc. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. ISBN 0-12-003102-7

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DONNA C. ROPER

in determining site locations. Site catchment relationships an alternative to analysis belongs with this latter group. It offers approach models based on central place theory (for example) in that it shows less concern with band spacing and population etc. (e.g., Wilmsen density, of site location, and instead em 1973; Schiffer 1975), as determinants man-land as the availability, such considerations abundance, spacing, and resources as important in deter of plant, animal, and mineral seasonality it is distinguished from other man-land site location. However, mining a demarcated the assessment of those resources within approaches by a site. That is, sites are conceived area surrounding of as points at the focus of an area throughout which economic activities were performed. phasizes The of this entire area, not just the immediate characteristics locus of the are considered in inferring locational site, processes. It is essentially on which this basic distinction and the assumptions it is based that unites the various studies that have been termed site catchment Examination of the literature reveals a rather wide diversity of analysis. used in site catchment It is the scope, and technique analysis. of this chapter to review the basis of site catchment the analysis, in its implementation, and the kinds of uses to which techniques employed it has been put.

purpose, purpose

WHAT ISSITE CATCHMENT ANALYSIS?


In proposing the term site catchment Vita-Finzi and Higgs analysis, it as "the study of the relationships between (1970:5) defined technology and those natural resources economic range of individual lying within sites." The term catchment is drawn from the literature of geomorphology it is synonomous where with drainage basin or watershed and denotes the area from which a stream draws its water. Similarly, of an the catchment site is that area from which a site (or more properly, the archaeological which its resources inhabitants of a site) derived 1969a: 106? (see Vita-Finzi seems to be the first, albeit indirect, application of the term to the case). Unlike drainage basins, the size, shape, and location archaeological of a site's catchment may not be known in advance, it frequently making or approximation to use an initial estimate of the catchment necessary

and land use, or some other knowledge. based on principles of settlement It is assumed in general, the farther one moves from an inhabited that, the greater the amount of energy that must be expended for pro locus, as one moves curement of resources. from that locus, it Therefore, away is assumed that the intensity of exploitation of the surrounding territory is un decreases, eventually reaching a point beyond which exploitation

SITE CATCHMENT ANALYSIS

121

analysis by users of site catchment profitable. Support for this assumption is drawn largely from the observation by Lee (1969:61) that the !Kung do not normally go more than 6 miles (10 km) from their camps to procure that and the studies cited by Chisholm resources, (1968:131) suggesting do not normally go even this far to tend their fields. Other agriculturalists It is further references could also be cited to illustrate the same point. were aware of this decrease in cost/ assumed that prehistoric peoples their locations, and generally played benefit ratio and located sites, moved a settlement to out the ratio of energy expended strategy that minimized energy procured. to pay a It is further assumed that the site's inhabitants were willing than they higher price (that is, expend more energy) for some resources were for others. Some resources, such as water, are so basic and so vital to obtain others are less the distance them must be minimized; are "worth" and may be gathered from therefore more, immediate, of resources" of this "hierarchy of importance farther away. Because a 1968:506; Chisholm (Jochim 1976:54; see also Clarke 1968:102-104), that

differentiation of use, ment occurred. Both

a settle or zonation, of the territory surrounding Jochim and Flannery (1976:55) (1976a: 117) have in theory, described this situation in the archaeological literature?Jochim and Flannery Chisholm used this as (1968:101-110) empirically?and to quantify the relative cost of settling at alternative locations. sumption is not uniform, however, The biophysical environment either spatially or seasonally. The size, shape, and location of an individual site's catch

ment are therefore largely a function of the zonation, spacing, and sea as sonal differentials of resource zones exploited from the site. Decisions or not the community to whether to exploit seasonal differ should move will also be influenced by the structure of the entials more economically studies could be cited to support this as environment. many Although (1938) Careful Aboriginal Groups." and contrasting of Steward's of the environ descriptions and settlement mental zonation patterns of Great Basin tribes well illus trates how major differences in environmental zonation correlate with settlement Site catchment very different strategies. analysis was origi as a response to the realization that at different times or nally developed environment may offer very different possibilities places the biophysical to for exploitation, given that there is a finite distance people are willing travel to exploit their environment. It is therefore a basic premise of site catchment that site function and site location are correlated, and analysis sumption, example analysis, consideration "Basin-Plateau Socio-Political that inferences The rationale can be made about function for site catchment analysis from knowledge of location. is therefore relatively simple. the most dramatic is to be found in Steward's

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DONNA C. ROPER

no more than that human beings are refuging animals, It assumes rhyth to a central place (Hamilton and from and returning mically dispersing Watt and spatially variable 1970:263), differentially using a seasonally in a manner that generally is conservative of energy, but con landscape servative relative to a relative scale of values placed on needs and wants. site catchment relies largely on anthropological ob analysis Although such as those cited above, for its theoretical the servations, justification, in the literature basic argument is not entirely without of precedent Both J. H. von Th?nen and A. Weber economic considered geography. to availibility of resources, in opposing location relative fash although was concerned ions. Von Th?nen with general land use patterns that costs and around an isolated place and the balance between developed returns accruing at a given distance to performance of various activities and directed his analysis this place. Weber the procedure reversed toward finding an optimum and mode location, given resource distribution 1968:20-41 for discussion Chisholm of production (Clarke 1977a:21-23; and comparison of von Th?nen and Weber's work). from

ANALYSIS DONE? HOW ISSITE CATCHMENT


In broad outline, site catchment delimits a territory or set of analysis a site and assesses territories the resource poten concentric surrounding to tial contained within is that postulated that area. The territory assessed be the area from which the greatest quantity of resources was derived. sites in Epirus, Greece, Higgs et al. (1967), in their study of Paleolithic were the first to apply this form of analysis in a general form) (although to interpret the function of Kastritsa in and its position when they sought the Advanced Paleolithic settlement system of Greece. They recognized the unequal seasonal and spatial distribution of resources, including the and postulated seasonal animals represented remains, by archaeological movements these animals. Their the human populations that exploited by to ascertain to what extent then attempted site the Kastritsa analysis et al. would have been satisfactory for year-round occupation (Higgs its of Kastritsa, 1967:13). Although major interest was with interpretation with and contrasted several other nearby location was also compared recon in Epirus were and winter sites. Summer conditions hunting and rings 10 km in radius were drawn around each site. Re structed, sources within but visual impres these 10-km radii were not quantified, sions from inspection of maps the very different economic conveyed sites of Epirus were then Paleolithic of the sites. Advanced potentials

SITE CATCHMENT ANALYSIS

123

based, grouped, al. 1967:18). Neolithic

in part,

on

inferences

from

seasonal

potential

(Higgs

et

The study by Vita-Finzi and Higgs (1970) of Upper Paleolithic and


was actually the first to use the term site sites in Palestine it was also the first to discuss catchment but, more analysis, important, some of the assumptions and principles of the type of analysis proposed. in evaluating whether and Higgs interested their Vita-Finzi (1970) were or whether trans sites necessarily economies, sedentary represented from the premise humance may have been practiced. The analysis worked "that artifacts not only to solve this problem must take into account attempts them but also the possibilities in the site situations inherent and Higgs selves" 1970:4). (Vita-Finzi as "the territory The "exploitation of a site was defined territory" the site which and Higgs is exploited (Vita-Finzi surrounding habitually" 1970:7). This territory was then used as an analytic device for examining

to a site's inhabitants. the resources accessible immediately for sharp Higgs et al. 's (1967) use of a 10-km radius had not accounted terrain differentials and thus did not fully account for energy expenditure resources to procure differentials from different places within necessary and Higgs (1970) therefore vicinity of the site. Vita-Finzi time contours for circular radii, using 2-hour walks from a site and 1-hour walks for hunter-gatherers, for agriculturalists. per Using the immediate substituted land types within the these time contours, they analyzed of their sites by comparison for occupation of the resource potential of the exploitation territories of the sites. The result was what potential called "a very speculative of a pattern of seasonal move they possibility In essence, ment" it was a very and Higgs 1970:22-26). (Vita-Finzi centages about seasonal movements of Natufian testable, hypothesis The Vita-Finzi and Higgs established therefore site populations. study as an inductive method catchment for derivation of hypotheses analysis about settlement system morphology. et al. (1967) and Vita-Finzi The studies of Higgs and Higgs (1970) most used for delimiting the two techniques the exemplify commonly to be examined in a site catchment the use of territory analysis?namely, general, yet circular territories of fixed radii and the use of time contours. Both means of determining the area to be studied have since been widely used. 1 hour from agricultural sites and 2 hours from nonagricultural Walking sites has been used by a number of European historians 1972; (Webley Barker Jarman 1973, 1975b; Jarman and Webley 1975; Davidson 1976; circles of fixed radii are more commonly 1976), although used, but also by Europeans (Barker 1975a; Fagan especially by Americanists 1972, of

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DONNA C. ROPER

1976; Moore

et al.

1975; Noy

et al.

1973; Clark

1972; Higgs

and Webley

1971; Ellison and Harriss 1972;Clarke 1972;Dennell andWebley


Rossman 1974, 1976; Zarky 1976; Roper reason for the predominance of the latter are more when data readily employed from actual walks rather than collected 1975; Peebles technique are taken taken

1975;

one 1978). Possibly is the fact that circles from available maps

in the field.

The uncritical acceptance of the Lee and Chisholm distance figures and as circular radii or time use of these figures expressed the mechanical contours are major problems with site catchment analysis as it is currently this sterility in approach can perhaps best be initiated Relieving practiced. and explicitly the catchment concept by clarifying stating its behavioral the of site catchment referrent. Very early in the development analysis terms territory and catchment were distinguished?the former as the area was which accessible to, a site's inhabitants, habitually immediately the contents of a site the latter as the total area from which exploited, were derived A territory as defined therefore became an (Higgs 1975:/jc). size was determined analogy. A by ethnographic analytic device whose on the other hand, became a behavioral unit whose referrent catchment, resource must be inferred from comparative of site territories, knowledge ously, better and settlement Obvi site contents, distribution, system morphology. the behavioral the better the analytic device approximates unit, the the analysis of the catchment itself. Much of the site catchment and merge the two tended to confuse literature has, however, analysis or 10-km (or whatever) terms. Thus, 2-hour territories have been treated as if they were actual catchments; time or distance contours as if the site's

to inhabitants were on a 10-km-long leash. Several studies have attempted and it is worth describing them briefly. deal with this problem, however, the problem with noted Findlow and DeAtley (1974:4-5) explicitly catchment types of analyses ("most catchment-hinterland approximation a theoretical or empirical data to basis either have failed to produce size or shape") and have catchment support the use of some particular of to resolve it. Their analysis of sites in the Animas Valley attempted two site types and examined New Mexico formulated spacing along and across drainages and between sites of the same type as well as different and and DeAtley Radiocarbon of sites* (Findlow 1974:38-40). types of dates were used to demonstrate obsidian contemporaneity hydration were taken as an estimate of the size and shape sites. Observed spacings of catchments of different step to examin types of sites "as a preliminary of sites within each catchment" the relative uses and placement ing the (1976) similarly calculated 1974:54). Browman (Findlow and DeAtley size in Peru. linear spacing of sites to interpret catchment Cassels (1972b) attempted to determine the actual field (the term he

SITE CATCHMENT ANALYSIS

125

area of New Zealand by of sites in the Waikato of catchment) around each site. Thiessen constructing polygons (Haggett 1965:247-248) His assumption was that "the most likely boundary between the two sites is a line equidistant between them" (Cassels Such a means of 1972b:215). in place determining assumption catchments of which assumes Cassels the once contrary is proved (Cassels 1972b:216). Strangely enough, however, he used a set of concentric he determined the size of the polygons, circles a frequency resource content and merely presented to evaluate distribu tion of size of polygons. and Webley Dennell (1975:102) eliminated overlaps of territories, prob and examined ably by a similar technique, spacing. They too, however, resources used complete circles (2 km) to evaluate (Dennell and Webley the over 1975:105). Rossman (1976) and Brumfiel (1976) both truncated the points of intersec lapping territories by drawing a straight line between tion of the circles drawn around their sites. In both cases, the truncated resources. territories were used to evaluate Linear spacing (or some other measure of spacing) and Thiessen poly are both realistic approaches to estimation of catchment size and gons is limited by several considerations. First, shape. Their utility, however, of sites, and unless one can demonstrate they do assume contemporaneity this to be so, the results could be highly misleading. Second, they assume a comprehensive listing of the sites whose spacing is being examined. This could be a problem if analysis is being done of sites in an area that has not been systematically surveyed or where a survey was done using quadrats, sam transects, or some other technique yielding an areally discontinuous ple of sites. Third, use of either approach assumes no overlap of actually of resources?that area, no trade, and no importation is, it exploited assumes is the sole area exploited. that the area within the polygon The problem size and catchment is, therefore, how do we approximate shape with anything but time or distance contours when the site sample is or noncontemporaneous? So far, nonsystematic, areally discontinuous, no one has approached this problem directly. Flannery (1976a) dispensed with analytic devices to determine and attempted site catch altogether ments empirically by starting with empirical data on plant, animal, and resources mineral and asking from how far away they must have come seem reasonable 1976a: 103). It would that some data should be (Flannery available for most regions as to what resources were utilized, and such data could be used sites. Use
some areas.

uses

that all sites were contemporary, aware and which he accepts unless is

an

to formulate approximations of catchments of specific or ethnohistoric of ethnographic data should also be useful in of a catchment is made, the kinds of resources

Once

an approximation

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DONNA C. ROPER

and the detail to which the way they are analyzed, they are land classifications of also vary. Most analyses employ general analyzed some kind. For example, Vita-Finzi and Higgs used a series of (1970) are based on modern "land use capability land uses. classes" which evaluated, These include potentially (Vita-Finzi each site, land, arable, rough grazing, irrigated sand dunes, and seasonal marsh, arable, and Higgs the time contours 1970:17). Within good grazing/ crops irrigated drawn around

the acreage of the enclosed territory and the they evaluated other studies have of it occupied percentage by each land type. Many been similarly performed. are explicitly based Some analyses largely on one kind of resource, For example, Webley's such as soil or vegetation. (1972) analysis of Tell Gezer and several other sites in Palestine was based entirely on analysis of soils and their potential productivity. Peebles' (n.d.) study of Mound was similarly conceived. Adams ville, Alabama, (1977) was largely con and Roper also relied heavily on floral cerned with plant potential, (1974)
zones.

resource estimation: may arise with (a) problems availability in site location be based on a about important factors Should inference site's relation to a single type of resource? (b) How reliable are the recent or modern distributions? Even the simplest models of site location location as being specify variables. For of several determined by the interaction example, Two Chisholm has listed water, arable land, grazing land, fuel, (1968:102-103) a settler com as "the five basic elements and building materials of ... none can the settlement with Jochim economy: dispense." munity's in settlement has listed as primary among (1976:50) goals placement resources. 2. Shelter and "1. Proximity of economic hunter-gatherers: of game and strang 3. View from observation from the elements. protection a multivariable model of the deter ers." Hill (1971:56) has diagrammed and their proximity minants of site locations, including critical resources, The use of single re and other variables. density, spacing, population source types such as soil or vegetation may therefore be unfairly limiting. it allow inference about why a site is located where It may not necessarily is or how course, it may have functioned of how permit description for certain and a comparison among sites of their potential vegetation, If this is the goal of a specific study, then use of only economic activities. a few resource of settlement is fine. More types complete modeling the use of a wider location and the settlement system, however, requires types. variety of resource if it were based Site catchment impossible analysis would be virtually sites in a settlement system. are located relative It does, to soils of or

SITE CATCHMENT ANALYSIS

127

on anything but modern or recent resource distributions, since maps of are seldom available. However, resource distributions for a variety past in of reasons, climatic change, fluctuations change, including geomorphic sea level, and drastic changes in resource distribution with the introduc land use practices, modern data may be highly unreliable. tion of modern to say that it cannot be adequately treated here, except problem case for each area. For example, Higgs to evaluate will be necessary the to changing potentials for ex and Vita-Finzi (1966:28) refer specifically Vita-Finzi's of certain areas in Epirus, Greece. (1969b) study, ploitation is a consideration The Mediterranean of how the streams feeding Valleys The in the last two millenia the Mediterranean their courses have modified 1969b: 1) and concludes with a summary of the implications of (Vita-Finzi area (Vita-Finzi 1969b: 118). exploitable geomorphic change for available to assess changes Adams (1977) employs a "grazing filter" for attempting in New in plant food potential sites in the Rio Puerco Valley surrounding in the Midwestern United States have used Mexico. Many archaeologists reconstructions (for site catchment analysis or other purposes) vegetation on the Government Land Office surveys. These were done in the land states of the United States at about the time of Euro-American public reasonable of major vegeta settlement. estimates Although they provide must be used with caution, for they too were done under tion zones, they based and other conditions that may affect their climatic conditions varying resource estimation 1976; King (Wood 1978). In utility for prehistoric some places, their use could be completely and for some time periods, misleading. data also vary. Many of site catchment The techniques for analysis of tables or drawings of studies have evaluated the data by inspection resource zones surrounding 1975b for the most exhaus sites (see Barker tive example if a number of of this approach). Sometimes, particularly are being evaluated, sites this interpretation is graphically assisted with and Higgs 1970) or histograms pie diagrams (e.g., Vita-Finzi (e.g., Ellison and Harriss (1974, 1972; Barker 1972) of land type proportions. Roper statistical 1975) and Baumler (1976) both used multivariate techniques for de (factor analysis, multidimensional scaling, and cluster analysis) site territories and their resource potential. scribing and comparing has (1976b:92-93) Flannery tion may indeed not be what within the territory, but rather needs of the site's inhabitants that the relevant ques however, land use type falls percent of a particular or not this is sufficient land for the whether or not it is significantly more and whether than could be expected he by chance. The answer to the former question, and available land. estimation of both site population says, requires Rossman (1976:102), Flannery (1976a: 107), and Zarky (1976:122) all ad suggested,

128

DONNA C. ROPER

in their analyses in Formative dress such estimates of site catchments Mesoamerica. The latter question the use of inferential statistics requires for an answer. at Oc?s in of site catchments (1976) analysis Zarky's used percentage Guatemala and tests, point differences, chi-squared zones were tests for evaluating which binomial environmental repre a site than they in higher proportions sented immediately surrounding were in the total study area. to many is the evaluation Common site catchment studies of all land as if they were of equal value for what they produce. This simply is types not true, however. in potential Seasonal and spatial disparities is one of reasons was originally the but few site catchment analysis developed, studies actually discussed. The used quantify this potential. A number of exceptions should be

and oldest means of accounting for differentials is that simplest In their study, land at greater and Higgs (1970:30). by Vita-Finzi distances from agricultural sites was weighted less than proportionally was that close to the site, to compensate for the increased travel time 1 km was weighted 100%; 1-2 km, 50%; 2-3 required. The area within km, 33%; 3-4 km, 25%; and 4-5 km, 20%; and the figures were tabled and Rossman and Higgs 1970:28-31). (Vita-Finzi graphed accordingly in his analysis of exploi used these same weighting (1976:100-101) figures area in Mesoamerica. tation territories in the San Lorenzo Cassels he used a because them only slightly (and only (1972a: 209) adjusted area of New Zealand. in the Waikato different set of radii) for his analysis that population and yield estimates may (1976b) suggestion Flannery's has of land to support the population be used to evaluate the sufficiency A number of other studies have been even more been mentioned. already zones some estimate of yield of the resource specific about producing within rings of the sites, without necessarily relating the Phase of Moundville Peebles' figures (1978) study density. areas of different 1 and soil types within in Alabama measured settlement and estimated 2 km of Moundville Phase median sites, "gross produc "the midpoints of the tivity" of each ring. This was done by multiplying corn for each soil type in the of range of the average yields of bushels the catchment to population catchment"

and summing the products 1978). Webley (1972:178), (Peebles for a soil types, similarly estimated barley yields and goat potentials single site in Palestine. have been made for only one or estimates In all these cases, however, to studies have attempted two resources?albeit important ones. Two the seasonally and to incorporate quantify a larger number of resources not only for as well. Cassels corrected different potential (1972a:209-213) using distance
zone.

from a site, but also

for seasonal

difference

in potential

of each

SITE CATCHMENT ANALYSIS

129

to assess differential wild plant resource po (1977) attempted She de of New Mexico. for five sites in the Rio Puerco Valley a set of scores using parts of a plant, the season or seasons of the veloped its dependability, and a rough estimate of year when the plant is available, and preparation. the work necessary for its procurement Seventy-five for the South plants scored included those documented ethnographically Plant scores were west then and archaeologically for the Rio Puerco. a total tally for the land lying within an arbitrary to determine summed Adams tential of estimat site. This technique has the obvious advantage the. inhabitants for those plants most likely employed by ing potential only enter the calculation of of the area. Although seasonal considerations in do not produce an estimate of seasonal fluctuations plant scores, they as does Cassels' resource potential, rather, they estimate (1972a) analysis; radius of each the arbitrary radius of each site. potential within et al. (1971) in which the is not unlike a study by Munson plant and animal species of major economic importance 1.78 miles within of the Scovill site in Illinois were (10 square miles) to evaluate with actual remains estimated and the figures compared or not animals and plants were being taken in proportion to their whether that there was no selection Munson and associates conclude availability. the total annual Adams' study yields of several for plant species, but that there was a selection for animal species (Mun son et al. 1971:426). An alternative could simply be however, explanation, that plants were collected environs of the site, from the immediate whereas samples
zonation

not. In other words, animals were were good, the observed disparities
of exploitation of resources.

if it is assumed could simply

that the be a result of

studies stand apart from most site catchment studies in not confin a site. Foley area surrounding to a small, circumscribed themselves ing an ecological model accounting for differential (1977) developed produc loci, instead using tivity in an area. This model was free of specific zone map of an area in on a general resource quadrats superimposed Two which to be located. This approach would sites were assumed then the energy balance by subtracting the value of the energy neces analyze an area from a given locus from the extracted sary to exploit energy The approach is interesting, but unfortu 177-181). (Foley 1977:164-165, it is illustrated with a hypothetical nately example. some

of Site Catch Determination (1976a) study, "Empirical Flannery's ments in Oaxaca and Tehuac?n," is tied to specific sites, although likewise free of an arbitrary analytic territory. Instead of evaluating what resources were available some arbitrarily to a site's inhabitants within demarcated reversed the area, Flannery (and perhaps unrealistically) resources started with data on the plant, animal, and mineral procedure, found at sites, and asked, "From how far away must they have come?"

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DONNA C. ROPER

all kinds of resources, 1976a: 103). The analysis considered (Flannery to the most exotic from the commonest trade items. It obviously plants a territory; avoided it also re the problem of arbitrarily superimposing faunal and floral preservation, of those re detailed quired good study and comprehensive of resource Flan distributions. mains, knowledge a zonation use conclusions of resource suggest expectably nery's a total catchment but also document than the (1976a: 117), area/ar larger analytic territory used were satisfied within inmost 5 km of studies. Most basic plant and mineral needs and exotic the site, but animals, wood, a documentation of the fact away. It is still from a far broader area than

came from farther materials resources that reflected at a site may come the small analytic territories used by most

site catchment analyses. With of the Foley the exception (1976a) papers, (1977) and Flannery as can be summarized for site catchment therefore, procedures analysis follows. First, define the analytic territory. To do so, use a circle or circles on the site or an irregularly centered shaped territory defined by time or infer the territory by the site's relation to its neighbors. If the contours, to justify the assumption latter is done, be prepared of site contem zone within the area of each resource each Then, measure poraneity. or graph them, or use them in a site's territory. Table these figures, of more distant statistical analysis of site territories. Differential weighting and accounting estimates of yields, for differential seasonal resources, be used at this point. The exact procedure chosen and the potentials may use made of the results of the analysis will depend on the purpose of the It is to the purpose of site catchment that we therefore, analysis. analysis,
now turn.

ANALYSISBEEN DONE? WHY HAS SITE CATCHMENT


contribu contains numerous The literature on site catchment analysis To assess the diversity researchers. tions from both British and American to appreciate it is necessary the of site catchment however, applications, in Europe and the contexts different fact that it is set within quite
Americas.

European British

Studies

seen as largely concerned with has often been archaeology In the late of their development. reconstructions artifacts and historical a new of arch the British theme entered 1960s, however, practice were not be be explained cultural by cul phenomena aeology?that

SITE CATCHMENT ANALYSIS

131

ture alone, but also by other factors, Jarman stated this theme quite explicitly the origins of agriculture: reconsidering
The many has, and cultural model has dominated The decades .... study

and economy. including Higgs at the conclusion of their essay

in European for thought and speculation archaeology in prehistory of economy, force the major selective ... its development, the whims, until now, fashions, ignored. With largely been to with cultures may become of less importance associated freedom of choice in man's past of natural mechanisms as the true causes of

than the study archaeology human behavior [1969:40].

The

study

of economies following

has

particularly prehistoric
In spite of oriented,

Europe.
Clark's the field has

Clark's However:
admonition

long had a place in British archaeology, of of the economy (1952) major synthesis

were too artefactually that many archaeologists to be dominated the consideration of artefactual by served for little more and economic have usually concepts types and their chronology, or 'farmers' into 'hunter-gatherers,' than the classification of cultures 'pastoralists,' continued [Higgs and Vita-Finzi 1972:27].

A major in site catchment the role innovation analysis was therefore in interpretation of the archaeological record. Vita given to economy to solve Finzi and Higgs (1970:4) are quite clear in stating that attempts "must economies take into the problem of the nature of prehistoric account not only the artefacts but also the possibilities inherent in the site situations Their study of sites in the Mt. Carmel area of themselves." as well as the earlier study by Higgs et al. (1967) in Epirus, Palestine, were attempts to generate Greece, from this perspective. economies studies had as Several other testable hypotheses about prehistoric

to reconsider their primary purpose of economies, and reconstructions from the perspective culture-historical in so doing generated about those economies by using site hypotheses catchment analysis. The studies by Graeme Barker (1972, 1973, 1975b) on the Bronze Age of central Italy are a case in point. Barker's analysis which sought to refute the standard concept of central Italian prehistory, each with its economic "a series of neat cultural phases, label, postulates one with the other" variations after (Barker developing regional of the location 1973:359-360), by using, among other data, "the evidence of the sites themselves" of the ter Consideration (Barker 1973:360). ritories of a series of sites (Barker 1972:198, Fig. 10) and their productive as "a hypothetical described led to what Barker (1972:189) potentials networks of sites, within an ecological of related economic reconstruction as well as to an apparent major rather than a cultural framework," revision of at least the "economic labels" of the "neat cultural phases" that characterized The same au the study of central Italian prehistory.

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DONNA C. ROPER

sites in Yugoslavia (Barker 1975a), and the study of early Neolithic Dennell and Webley and Bronze Age sites in of Neolithic (1975) study by southern Bulgaria, both similarly proposed alternative settlement system to the traditional to models site catchment interpretations, using analysis site location and potential for occupation. to culture concerned with alternatives instead seeking to examine historical the economic scenarios, aspects of various cultural units: Webley's and nearby (1972) study of Tell Gezer sites in Palestine; Jarman and Webley's sites in (1975) study of prehistoric interpret Other sites in (1976) study of several Paleolithic Capitanata, Italy; Davidson's sites in Italy (the of prehistoric (1972, 1976) examination Spain; Jarman's 1972 paper is actually more concerned with presentation than of a model with results of the analysis); and Ellison substantive and Harriss' and early historical of prehistoric sites in southern England (1972) study all belong to this genre of site catchment studies. This is not to suggest or executed, that all these studies are similarly conceived however. Some 1972; Jarman and Web rely primarily on site location data (e.g., Webley whereas others augment the locational data with analysis of ley 1975), faunal remains Jarman Davidson Ellison and Harriss 1976; 1976). (e.g., of individual sites (1972) were "concerned primarily with the locations and with what can be inferred from them" (Ellison and Harriss 1972:913) rather than with reconstruction of economies. To this end, site catchment used, but it was supplemented analysis was the primary line of evidence other locational for study of land use. by techniques The final major purpose for which site catchment studies have been in Europe has been the examination of the environmental performed context of single sites. For these studies, the term site catchment analysis is hardly appropriate, for neither are they analyses nor are they concerned with catchments in the proper sense of the term. Rather, they are site the site is related to reports in which the area within a 5-km (or whatever) to provide the majority of presumed surrounding territory are frequently scribed. al. its natural setting by description of radius of the site?that is, the area resources to the site. Details of the shown in a drawing and briefly de the the relation between studies were less

thor's

et by Noy et al. (1973) on Nahal Oren, Israel; by Moore Reports (1975) on Tell Abu Hureyra, (1976) on Gwisho, Syria; by Fagan of Star Carr, England, Zambia; and by Clark (1972) on his reexamination all fall in this category. examination of Glastonbury, Clarke's (1972) was considered in is similar; here the site exploitation England, territory a model at the site. of the Iron Age society represented building In spite of the explicit concern for the study of the economy, and in and development of the frank regard for behavior of laws of human spite and Jarman behavior studies are 1975:2), many European (e.g., Higgs

SITE CATCHMENT

ANALYSIS

133

in prehistory rather than with the development the assumptions of such laws. studies, of site catchment analysis and the validity of the distance figures given by and others are taken as givens, and never have they been Lee, Chisholm, or disconfirmation. to confirmation Lee's However, (1969) subjected are willing to travel to tend their figures on the distance agriculturalists directed toward clarification happened In all these to the societies on which they are based, but they fields may be applicable It is this almost have not yet been shown to have universal validity. use of these figures for delineating mechanical the analytic territory that was noted earlier as one of the major problems with site catchment
analysis.

of what

American Site

Studies catchment

to be used by American is only beginning analysis Some of the analyses in the Americas archaeologists. (especially Rossman have been performed for purposes similar to those of 1976; Zarky 1976) some of the British studies?that to examine and quantify the nature of is, to a site's inhabitants. the territory accessible American immediately had a strong tradition of settlement however, pattern with Gordon R. Willey's in the Vir? analysis. (1953) studies Beginning the settlement up to the present, Valley of Peru and continuing pattern rather than a historical The ar concept has been a functional concept. in settlement interested chaeologist patterns defined a series of site types which can be used for a variety of purposes. One of these is the study of across the landscape and the explanation of location. their distribution Site catchment analysis has been used in American archaeology primarily for modeling the spatial distribution of functionally distinct sites within a settlement of the resource potential of sites system, or for examination archaeology has, in a settlement different positions thought to have occupied system. sites in central (1975) study of settlement patterns of Woodland Roper's Illinois is an example of the former use of site catchment A analysis. series of very generally defined site types was recorded during a survey of the Sangamon River Valley, and the site catchment data were used to assess the locations of each site. After a statistical analysis was made of Middle a general, but these data, Roper was able to postulate and Late Woodland in settlement patterns a general test of this model using such limited provide were available, of survey data not used in formulation literature. comparative An example of the latter use is Peebles' (1978) Phase in Alabama. settlement Peebles used soils testable, model of and to the valley, excavation data as the site types, and

study of Moundville and their estimated

134

DONNA C. ROPER

resource potential at functionally different sites in the yields to examine Moundville have already been described. Phase. His techniques Addi to site size, assuming he related estimated that there tionally, productivity is a relationship size and subsistence between base, between population area of scatter and and between size and resident population, was that if a prime criterion for location is The hypothesis settlement size. The land, then site size should vary with soil productivity. agricultural was used Pearson to test the correlation coefficient product-moment settlement settlements did show a strong correlation Village-hamlet hypothesis. size and productivity, centers had a the minor ceremonial between while rather low relationship 1978). (Peebles in a part of Brumfiel's pressure (1976) test of a population hypothesis was similarly of Mexico the Valley as follows: was expressed argument
We could expect between a situation of

conceived

and executed.

The

basic

correlation

productive potential in the original]. italics

to be expressed in a simple pressure population at each village and the relative number of inhabitants at each village land available [Brumfiel 1976:237, of agricultural the relative

Brumfiel

as did Peebles but used the same assumption implicitly made measure to predict site size from productive linear regression potential?a land and the fertility of that derived from data on available agricultural land (Brumfiel 1976:240). as ex of site catchment Browman (1976) used the premises analysis and Vita-Finzi Jarman 1972; and associates 1972; (Higgs pressed by Higgs about expected of Jarman et al. 1972) to derive predictions spacings are then compared with actual site types. These several predictions 1976:471). Using an estimated biomass for the spacings of sites (Browman catchment, the demographic he then postulated Peru at around a.d. basin of Jauja-Huancayo in the processes operative 500 (Browman 1976:473 while holding in common with

474). This use of the site catchment model, the incorporation into demographic and Brumfiel's Peebles' studies, is the in which the assumptions of site catchment analysis were only analysis about the form of the archaeological used to generate predictions record, to be a test of the validity of and the only study that could be construed assumptions. concept. (1975) use of the catchment Finally, we might note Hassan's of population Hassan's size, and density, paper is a general discussion of size, Hassan the discussion (1975:38) notes growth rate. In developing and area." size is a function of the population that "population density as a measure of area, he then the catchment concept Incorporating (1975:39-40) uses it to discuss the relationships between size and density. those

SITE CATCHMENT ANALYSIS

135

It is quite clear that the relationship is variable, that the suggesting to use similar-sized in different kinds of places attempt analytic territories is not only an unrealistic to proceed in general but is subject to way of error. varying degrees

CONCLUSIONS
It has been the assumptions implementation, should be clear The said a major purpose of this chapter of site catchment analysis, the and the purposes for which that there is a wide diversity to summarize and review in its employed

criterion for selection of papers discussed site they were using site catchment analysis or something resembling as to exactly catchment It remains then to come to a conclusion analysis. what is site catchment analysis. those reports using a circular territory around a site solely Excluding

techniques it has been performed. It in purpose and technique. here was that the authors

for environmental consideration of the remainder of purposes, description the studies suggests that site catchment is most correctly viewed analysis as a method?that of data (Dunnell for analysis is, a set of techniques of techniques 1971:34). Its unity derives from the incorporation relating site location to resource availability within sur the territory immediately that this territory, which will be of relatively rounding a site. It assumes finite size and show seasonal is of primary in variability, importance the site's residents. How this territory is determined for provisioning on whether it is preferable to use an will depend however, analysis, area (based on either time or distance contours) or arbitrarily demarcated to attempt to approximate the area from spacing of the sites. The latter but about the sites analyzed, requires slightly more stringent assumptions of the behavioral unit (that is, the catchment provides a better estimation The kind of resources analyzed itself) if it can be shown to be appropriate. (soil, topography, flora, etc.) will depend on availability researcher's beliefs about what kinds of resources were of data and the important to the is therefore useful with a

under study. Site catchment community analysis of locational models. variety it can be, and has been, used in studies of a variety of types Further, evaluation of the feasibility of various culture-historical recon including structions Barker 1972, 1973, 1975a,b), determination of the feasibil (e.g., and ity of various forms of economy (e.g., Higgs et al. 1967r; Vita-Finzi 1970), modeling Higgs 1975), and study of Brumfiel 1976). settlement demographic

patterns 1978; Roper (e.g., Peebles processes 1976; (e.g., Browman

136

DONNA C. ROPER

of site catchment not without is, of course, Development analysis are discussed in the text of this paper. These problems. are prone It is now an infamous fact that archaeologists to borrow methods rather than develop their own. Yet it has also been pointed out to do so ignores archaeology's by a number of authors that the tendency asset?the to most time depth unavailable other social greatest it ignores the possibility scientists?and that the presently known range of a full range of all societies cultural expressions does not represent that ever existed. The development have it draws of site catchment, although on ethnography has been developed with the considera and geography, of the archaeological tion of the potentials record. It is to be hoped that and refinement the needed development of the method will occur.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This chapter in its several versions has benefited from the comments of Karen considerably R. Adams, Vorsila L. Bohrer, Sharon L. Brock, L. Crumley, Carole Susan K. Goldberg, B. Schiffer, V. Ann Tippitt, Michael Review the ever-helpful and, of course, Anonymous ers. Dr. Bohrer were kind enough and Ms. Adams to provide me with copies of several of as well as to correct my summary their unpublished of their approach; papers Christopher an advance S. Peebles thanks go to copy of his Moundville provided manuscript. Special B. Schiffer Michael for inviting me to write this paper. The result ofthat invitation was not a method to assess more but the necessity which I, too, had only the opportunity critically perhaps rather blindly for several accepted of scholarship again. The traditions require errors for remaining and shortcomings?a comply. Several but keeping the during will never be the same years. My own analyses that I absolve all the above-named from liability to with which I am most requirement happy

have my undying for keeping very capable colleagues appreciation things going, me involved, I completed the final draft of this chapter and sane, while informed, of a major field season. launching

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