Building Geospatial Models of Movement: Past Monumental Landscapes in the Great Lakes


ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships




The human-space relationship has been central to all people at all times and movement is the primary way people experience and negotiate this relationship. This project uses digital geospatial technologies to build an innovative model of movement and to expand ways of exploring cultural landscapes and histories embedded in place. Specifically, two geospatial techniques, circuit-based modeling and least cost path analysis, are combined to develop a framework that encompasses dual aspects of movement, incipient meaning and displacement. The power of this framework is tested through an examination of the proposition that indigenous communities living in the Great Lakes during Late Precontact (AD 1200 – 1600) crafted an imbricated monumental landscape based on circular earthwork enclosures that served as hubs of social and ritual interaction. The results of this modeling are made public through an interactive online map.