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Title: The Chosen Path: Movement Pattern Analysis and Land-Use within Jasper National Park and the Central Canadian Rocky Mountains
Author: Osicki, Aaron Adrian
Advisor: Kooyman, Brian
Keywords: Archaeology
Issue Date: 3-Oct-2012
Abstract: Spatial structure, optimal behaviour, and social/cultural practices are examined in relation to each other and observed movement and land-use behaviours of precontact peoples in Jasper National Park. Natural and inherent movement characteristics of the landscape are modeled and assessed using space syntax theory so as to gain a greater understanding in the objectives and motivations behind precontact human use of various regions within the Jasper study area. Modeling uses elevation limits to define movement barriers and river valleys to structure travel corridors. Movement potential is examined based on landscape morphology and the visibility characteristics of the landscape. Evidence of movement patterns is quantified by the presence and distribution of known archaeological sites. Movement objectives are postulated by examining resource distribution and availability surrounding known site locations. Evidence suggests that precontact human behaviour centred within highly locally connected, globally integrated, and inherently intelligible regions within the greater movement network. This pattern of movement and land-use suggests the use of a generalized risk reduction strategy by the majority of precontact peoples accessing the Jasper area, focusing the majority of their activities within easily accessible, well connected, and centrally located areas within Jasper National Park. This suggests adept and knowledgeable, yet not highly adapted, outside populations accessing the area. Current archaeological data suggest that the majority of precontact movement and occupation in the Jasper area centred on general resource procurement (e.g. elk and bighorn sheep hunting) and/or trans-mountain travel objectives within these centralized locations, and under this risk reduction framework. Isolated and poorly integrated regions of the Jasper travel network are not completely void of archaeological sites however, thus suggesting a wider and more complete use of the Jasper area, albeit with varying intensity and focus. It is suggested that small isolated unconformities within this greater pattern likely signify specialized and unique movement and land-use behavioural characteristics of sub-regions within the network, such as important procurement areas and/or specialized hunting loci. The identification of these areas has the potential to provide greater insight and understanding into highly specialized and unique adaptations and cultural practices within the Japer area.
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