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Society for American Archaeology

Spatial Analysis in Archaeology by Ian Hodder; Clive Orton


Review by: G. A. Clark
American Antiquity, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Jan., 1978), pp. 132-135
Published by: Society for American Archaeology
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132

AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

Another chapter presents the information that wood


analysis yields toward the reconstruction of the
paleoecological environment of man and his influence
on the vegetation. Of greatest interest here is the comparison of the results obtained by different approaches
to the same problem, such as pollen, animal, and wood
remains. It is encouraging to see that the wood remains
and the pollen counts support each other, with the local
vegetation component more strongly represented by
the wood remains, and the extralocal environment by
the pollen analysis.
The final chapter describes the wood content of 60
prehistoric sites in its archaeological context, thus giving a picture of current studies in central Europe, especially in Switzerland.
The literature list given in this volume is short because the author recently published a complete bibliography of all work on wood and fossil wood remains that
has been done (Courier of the Research Institute,
Senckenberg, 1976).
The study concludes with several pages of excellent
microphotographs of the main European wood types in
their fossil state.
Everyone dealing with prehistoric wood remains,
especially in an archaeological context, will find this
compendium of great value for teaching and for research.
VERA MARKGRAF
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

Spatial Analysis in Archaeology. IAN HODDER and


CLIVE ORTON. Cambridge University Press,
New York and London, 1976. ix + 270 pp., illus.
$19.50.
This volume, the first in the "New Studies in Archaeology" series, is a combined effort by Ian Hodder, a lecturer in archaeology at the University of
Leeds, and Clive Orton, a Ministry of Agriculture
statistician only recently encouraged to turn his expertise to things archaeological. It consists of a survey of
statistical methods for the analysis of distribution
maps, and is an argument by example that archaeologists have been slow to realize the potential for
making inferences about prehistoric behavior which
use systematic and replicable procedures for describing and interpreting spatial patterning in archaeological
remains. The book can be divided into four parts,
which deal respectively with (1) the nature of spatial
data in general, (2) point-pattern analysis, synchronic
and diachronic models for settlement pattern analysis,
and for the analysis of artifact type distributions, (3)
measures of association between distributions, and (4)
the current status of spatial studies in archaeology.
Part I comprises two chapters which introduce basic
spatial analysis concepts (Chapter 1) and which discuss problems associated with the analysis of archaeological distribution maps (Chapter 2). An historical survey of archaeological attempts to cope with distribution maps reveals the inadequacies of the "traditional" approach, which relied upon subjective and at
times impressionistic assessments of the degree and
significance of spatial clustering (e.g. Fox, The Per-

[Vol. 43, No. 1,1978]

sonality of Britain, 1943). Subjectivity in map interpretation was a general problem in political and economic
geography, as well as in a number of other fields but
one which was recognized and corrected at a comparatively early stage in the development of these disciplines (Harvey: Transactions of the Institute of British
Geographers 44:85-95). Consequently, the authors
argue that we have a methodological repertoire developed in other disciplines which can, to varying degrees, be adapted to spatial problems of concern to
archaeologists. A short introduction to statistical concepts germane to spatial analysis is appended to Chapter 1, for a quantified approach is deemed essential if
objectivity and replicability are major research objectives, and if large amounts of data are to be processed.
Chapter 2 delineates problems related to the interpretation of distribution maps of settlement systems
and of isolated artifact types. Distortion of original
configurations by erosion and site destruction, and a
differential in fieldwork intensity are identified as principle causes of sampling error in studies of regional
scope, regardless of whether site or artifact distributions are being evaluated. Reliability of map distributions is also seen to be influenced by the scale upon
which data are recorded; the effect that varying quadrat sizes has on statistical assessments of randomness
and/or aggregation is a well-known example. Once factors of distortion are taken into account, analysis can
proceed either inductively, through pattern search
procedures, or deductively, through the formulation of
hypotheses about what Schiffer (Behavioral Archaeology, 1976) has called "cultural formation processes."
The latter can be modeled mathematically, in many
cases, and some of these models are considered in detail in Part II.
Part II is the longest and certainly the most valuable
section of the book; it comprises three chapters which
treat point and block pattern analyses in general terms,
and then evaluate statistical methods for assessing the
departure from randomness in models for settlement
systems and for the regional distributions of single artifact types. Only by vitiating the randomness assumption can patterning which may be interpretable in behavioral terms be demonstrated to exist. Tests for randomness can be divided into quadrat methods and distance methods, and these are surveyed in Chapter 3.
Data recorded by quadrats (blocks) are analyzed by
comparing the observed frequency distributions of
point counts per unit with that of the Poisson function
adjusted for density using the variance/mean ratio
statistic, and the X2 distributed index of dispersion
(Greig-Smith, Quantitative Plant Ecology, 1964). An
approach which allows the search for structured pattern to be carried out at different scales (block sizes),
and which tests for goodness of fit at each scale is what
Whallon has called "dimensional analysis of variance"
(Pielou, An Introduction to Mathematical Ecology,
1969). If a graph of the variance between blocks for
each block size is drawn, block sizes which approximate a clustered pattern will appear as peaks in the
graph, which can then be tested by the variance/mean
ratio test, or interpreted subjectively. Applications
most familiar to American readers include Dacey's
analysis of the Sde Divshon lithic data (American Antiquity 38:320-28), Whallon's DANOVA paper (American Antiquity 38:266-78), and Thomas' simula-

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REVIEWS
tion of Great Basin Shoshonean settlement subsistence
systems (Models in Archaeology, D. Clarke, ed., 671704, 1972).
The main advantage to quadrat based methods is
that much archaeological data is, and has been collected in the form of counts by grid units. However,
results are seriously affected by quadrat size (and it is
not always possible to vary quadrat size unless pointprovenienced data are available to begin with), the
variance/mean ratio statistic is unstable when the
mean is small, the X2 goodness of fit test cannot be
applied if the number of quadrats is small and if overall
density is low, and, finally, DANOVA is constrained
by the use of a rectangular grid of contiguous quadrats
in which the number of units along each side must be a
power of 2-a feature which limits its usefulness to
situations where the scale and shape of the excavated
(or collected) archaeological surface can be manipulated to form a grid of the required dimensions.
Because of these limitations, tests based upon distance measures are considered more appropriate for
archaeological research if point-provenienced data are
available. This means nearest neighbor analysis (Clark
and Evans: Ecology 35:445-53), or some variation on
it; the basic method and rationale are outlined and illustrated with an examination of Iron Age hillforts in
Wiltshire. Nearest neighbor analyses are perhaps more
familiar to archaeologists than are quadrat approaches.
On a regional scale they have been applied to surface
survey data from Pueblo sites on the Rio Puerco
(Washburn: American Antiquity 39:315-35), Peebles
on mound sites in Alabama (Moundville: The Organisation of a Prehistoric Community and Culture, 1974)
and by Hodder and his colleagues to analyze the distributions of Iron Age and Romano-British walled
towns in S. England. On the intrasite level, Whallon
(American Antiquity 39:16-34) has used the method to
describe the distributions of four major artifact
categories on a "Protomagdalenian' (Periogordian
VII) occupation floor at the Abri Pataud, in the Dordogne.
In Chapter 4, an effort is made to articulate theoretical models for interpreting observed spatial patterns
with the pattern search approaches outlined in Chapter
3. Aggregate random patterns are regarded as
anomalies seen to arise from random resource distributions, and more commonly from post-depositional factors, which may have distorted the original configuration. The point here is that the identification of a random pattern does not preclude the possibility that the
pattern may have been generated by randomizing disturbances of some other, original spatial pattern. Models for the horizontal and hierarchical organization of
settlement systems developed in classical locational
analysis in economic geography are reviewed and
found applicable in some instances to archaeological
data. Even as iconic models, they are theory-laden
formulations because ideal configurations are linked
with, or held to be directly attributable to explicit,
usually economic causal factors (e.g. resource distributions, population density gradients, subsistence
activities, marketing and productivity principles,
transport media and the like). The result is a package
of theoretical relationships which are derived from the
analysis of, and which have been tested against contemporary data from agrarian societies (cf. Smith: Re-

133

gional Analysis I, II, 1976), and which offer the potential for testing against the archaeological record. The
bulk of Chapter 4 consists of just such a series of tests
where hypotheses formulated on the basis of idealized
locational models are evaluated. The mechanics of
analyzing sites arranged into hierarchies on various
criteria are examined in the Midwest (Struever and
Houart: Anthropological Papers, University of Michigan 46: 47-79), in Mesoamerica (Hammond: Models in
Archaeology, D. Clarke, ed., 757-800, 1972) and in late
pre-Roman Iron Age Britain (Hodder: New Directions
in Archaeology, D. L. Clark, ed., 1975). The wellknown rank-size rule (Vining: Journal of the American
Statistical Association 18:44-64; Haggett: Locational
Analysis in Human Geography, pp. 101-107, 1965), an
alternative model for examining hierarchical situations
in which intralevel variability obscures interlevel distinctiveness, is also discussed at some length. Methods
for examining observed variation in the rank-size relationship are illustrated using British Iron Age data,
where centers are ranked using a path ordering algorithm. A potential difficulty is the necessity for tight
temporal control, and the remainder of Chapter 4 is an
attenuated discussion of the chronological significance
of site density and regularity relationships. Uniform
patterns are seen to develop through time as a consequence of the marketing and competition principles
first outlined by economic geographers. Clustered patterns emerge from resource localization and from the
process of contagion-the attraction of population to a
higher order center to take advantage of a broader
spectrum of services and activities than would be
available at a lower order center. Statistical models
using the probability distribution of the negative binomial are used to distinguish between "true contagion"
(where the distribution of points is assumed
homogeneous and the probability of the occurrence of
a point (settlement) directly increases the probability
of occurrence of other points nearby) and apparent or
"spurious contagion" (where random inhomogeneity
in population density is present and where the probability of the occurrence of a point is a function of a
differential in the availability of information). Observed frequency data based on quadrat counts from
Polish Bandkeramik, Lengyel, and TRB sites is tested
for goodness of fit against true and spurious contagion
models using maximum likelihood estimates. As these
data are ordered in time, a model for the pattern of
settlement development is outlined which entails an
initial stage of contagious growth, the expansion of
settlement clusters and finally the development of a
more dispersed pattern characterized by local variation in site density.
Regression analysis, the simulation of artifact dispersal patterns, trend surface analysis and spatial autocorrelation are considered in Chapter 5 with respect
to the distributions of single artifact types considered
in isolation. Regression analysis is discussed in general
and at some length; it is used to describe spatial trends
in the distributions of single artifact types from known
sources by analysis of residuals from fitted regression
lines (e.g. Iron Age/Roman pottery types from New
Forest, Savernake, Oxford kilns). Plots of positive and
negative residuals identify density fall-off patterns
which are interpreted subjectively-a drawback because sets of residuals patterned alike can result from a

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134

AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

number of distinct spatial processes. Fall-off curves


from known sources are also interpreted using simulations based upon random walk processes. Random
walk processes are stochastic models in which the distances and directions moved by points progressing
from a central source are chosen at random within
specified limits. Like any simulation, random walk
models permit the researcher to specify multiple variables, define interactions of varying complexity among
them, and set the resultant system in motion through a
large number of cycles to determine what the probabilities of different system variables are likely to be at
any stage in the process. In the present case, the effects of varying the direction and length of steps and
the total number of steps per walk are examined, and
the models are tested for goodness of fit by comparing
the observed and expected point densities in a series of
annular distance bands around the origin. Reciprocal
and redistributive exchange processes of some complexity can sometimes be distinguished from one
another, but a host of survival and recovery factors
intervene to make certain identification in archaeological contexts difficult. These problems also plague
trend surface and auto-correlation analyses, and even
the use of simple gravity models, which are also discussed. Basically, there is a question about the level of
detail at which spatial trends are likely to be detected,
and the suggestion of an answer that that level is not
always sufficiently precise to allow for significant correlation between spatial form and spatial process. It
should be kept in mind that the book is about methods
for objectifying pattern search approaches. It could be
argued that a consideration of ethnoarchaeologicallygrounded "cultural formation processes" (Schiffer op.
cit.) is logically prior to the use of pattern search approaches, but it is also and equally apparent that
ethnographic models are wholly inadequate by themselves to cope with the behavioral complexities of the
processes modeled here. Instead, the authors think it
more profitable to look for abstract theoretical principles developed in economics or in economic geography which might be linked in turn to trade, marketing principles, and other regional social and economic
phenomena of interest to archaeologists (cf. Smith op.
cit.). Certainly much of what is "explained" by Hodder and Orton is explained by deriving test implications from economic theory, rather than in terms of
test implications based upon the traditional ethnographic models with which archaeologists have been
accustomed to deal.
Part III is concerned with measures of association
between site and artifact distributions (Chapter 6) and
between sites and features of the natural environment
(Chapter 7). As was the case with the statistical procedures outlined in Chapter 3, methods for the analysis
of spatial association depend upon the type of data
being examined. The objective is usually to assess the
extent or departure from randomness, and, if either
significant clustering or dispersion are present, to determine whether or not two or more superimposed distributions are intermingled in such a way that behaviorally meaningful inferences can be drawn from
the study of the joint distribution. Methods suitable for
data recorded in quadrats usually entail the construction of contingency tables, which are then analyzed by

[Vol. 43, No. 1, 1978]

conventional X2 tests, and X2 based statistics like the


variance/mean ratio to determine whether types occur
in space independently of each other (Dacey: American Antiqiuity 38:320-28). Coefficients which measure
the degree of strength of association are also reviewed,
following Pielou (op. cit.). Most of these measures
vary from + 1 indicative of maximum positive association between point distributions to - 1 where negative
association (segregation) between distributions is as
great as possible. a value of zero indicates an absence
of association of any kind; observed and expected frequencies are equal. A discussion of spatial equivalents
of the common measures of central tendency and dispersion (e.g. arithmetic mean center, median center,
standard distance deviation) rounds out this useful
chapter. These descriptive statistics can also serve as a
basis for comparison if more than one distribution is
under consideration (Neft: Statistical AnalYsis for
Areal Distributions, 1966).
Chapter 7 comprises an attenuated discussion of two
related topics: (1) latterday manifestations of von Thiinen's concentric ring model for land use, (Des Isolierte
Staut, 1826), and (2) approaches to archaeological site
catchment analysis. Little methodology is presented
here. Instead these models for assessing the relationship between point scatters and environmental variables (e.g. soil type, altitude, vegetation cover, features of the landscape) are evaluated and found wanting. In the first case, the assumptions built into the ring
model are, by present standards, unrealistically simple. Von ThUinenacknowledged that his model was an
idealization, created only to be distorted by the manipulation of his variables to improve goodness of fit
with the empirical reality of his Baltic Coast estates.
However, modern attempts to use it in the same way
appear to encounter insurmountable difficulties
(Jackson: Area 4, 258-61). Site catchment analysis is
regarded as a distant lineal relative of the concentric
ring model which focuses attention upon the immediate microenvironment of a site, from whence actual or potential resources are assumed to be derived.
The analysis of subsistence activities is the principle
objective. While concentration on resources available
in the localized area around a site lends a precision to
the study of exploitation lacking in studies of regional
scope, there are disadvantages when catchment
analysis is applied to prehistoric situations. Probably
the most important objection is that prehistoric land
potential is often assessed in terms of modern land use
patterns (Vita-Finzi and Higgs: Proceediings of the
Prehistoric Society 36:1-37), an unrealistic assumption
to make if millenia have elapsed and if the impact of
man and of geological agencies on the locale have been
severe. Also, it is assumed that the proportion of land
use types in the catchment circle should directly reflect the relative importance of land use in that area,
which is probably unrealistic since the catchment circle radius is usually chosen arbitrarily. Finally, there is
seldom any attempt to relate site catchment areas to
regional land use patterns. While these criticisms of
the state of the art are perhaps valid through 1974, they
can probably be corrected to a considerable degree on
the technical level, as progressively more realistic
statements of relationship between past and present
environments can incorporated into any given model.

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REVIEWS
The book ends with a brief synopsis of problems
with archaeological spatial analysis. Problems resulting from the nature of archaeological data, problems
arising from the constraints of the statistical methods
employed, and problems of the relationship between
spatial form and process are considered. Sampling
error due to a differential in site survival, fieldwork
intensity and a failure to control for temporal variation
are critical factors in the first case, whereas the statistical procedures surveyed here have sets of assumptions which at times limit their usefulness with recalcitrant archaeological data, in the second.
The major limitation at present is, of course, that
different spatial processes can produce the same spatial form. So, while it may be possible to describe and
to measure the strength of association between spatial
patterns using rigorous and replicable techniques, and
to test for goodness of fit with abstract theoretical
models, the fact remains that there is no 1:1 correlation
between spatial form and spatial process. Schiffer
(American Antiquity 37:156-65) has suggested that the
extraction of behavioral patterns from archaeological
remains is by no means the simple and straightforward
task which it is sometimes imagined to be since there is
no reason to assume that distributions recoverable
from the archaeological record are replications of distributions which are meaningful in behavioral terms.
From this perspective, archaeological residues are regarded as static representations of dynamic behavioral
and natural systems; consequently the distributional
aspects of archaeological remains must be carefully
scrutinized so that a host of cultural and natural processes which might influence the appearance of archaeological remains on the ground can be taken into
account. At present, we seem to be in a situation
where some fairly sophisticated theoretical statements
about spatial process have been made, usually in the
context of economic or locational geography. This
book presents some ideas about how these hypotheses
about spatial process can be assessed archaeologically, and that is its major contribution. Although archaeology (and other disciplines) clearly lack a comprehensive model which relates spatial process in general terms to spatial form, it is argued that the methods
outlined by Hodder and Orton are sorely needed if
explicit "systems for indirect observation of the past"
are ultimately to be developed (Fritz: Conternporarv
Archaeology, M. Leone, ed., pp. 135-37, 1972). Archaeological theory building is at a point when implementation of quantitative spatial measures is critical to the resolution of many, perhaps most of its
hypotheses. This book has been prepared with that
goal in mind. It is not a compendium of "answers' to
abstract questions about archaeological theory pertinent to spatial variables in general, but is instead a
necessary methodological bridge designed to span the
chasm between the purely abstract and the empirical
aspects of spatial behavior.
G. A. CLARK
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

135

Potterv Stvle and Society in Ancient Perui. Art as a


Mirror of History in the Ica Vallev, 1350-1570.
DOROTHY MENZEL. University of California
Press, Berkeley, 1976. xiii + 288 pp., illus. $25.00
Menzel's book is an attempt to reconstruct changing
social attitudes, values, and interests through stylistic
analysis of pottery. The subject matter of her study is
the burial furniture of thirty-eight Late Ica tombs from
the Ica Valley on the south coast of Peru that were
excavated by Max Uhle in 1900 and 1901. The grave
goods are now in the Robert H. Lowie Museum of
Anthropology, Berkeley, California. Supplementary
data were provided through John H. Rowe's surveys
and excavations in the Ica Valley carried out between
1954 and 1969, and by unprovenienced vessels from
collectors and hutaqlueros.The time-span covered by
those burials and other data is the last part of the Late
Intermediate period, A. D. 1350 to 1570, a turbulent
era in the Ica Valley encompassing the Inca conquest
in 1476, and then later the Spanish conquest in 1534.
Menzel's objective is to record the impact of these
historically documented upheavals as they are reflected in local art styles. As I am not a Peruvianist by
training, I am not competent to evaluate the specifics
of her cultural historical reconstructions. However,
she claims her study to be a methodological and
theoretical contribution to the understanding of the relationship of ceramics and society, and it is to these
aspects of the book that this review is addressed.
The methodological and theoretical directions Menzel has given her work may be most succinctly related
by citing two brief passages from her introduction
(p. 2):
This study is therefore, an exercise in historic archaeology, and the fact gives it some special
theoretical importance. We are in a position to
study the rate and kind of changes in style associated with a series of known events, and we can
ask what archaeological evidence can contribute to
an understanding of cultural processes in a situation when some historical evidence is also available.
This study attempts to . .. bring to bear on an
American problem the rigorous standards of the
best Classical archaeology . . . to make the fullest
possible use of archaeological associations in relating style changes to historic events. The methods
developed could be profitably applied to many
other problems in American archaeology.
These are worthwhile objectives, and much could be
learned by similarly rigorous analysis of other localized
highland Peruvian pottery styles. However, while
Menzel has largely delivered what she promises in her
introduction, she has not necessarily done so in the
most effective manner.
The problem of presentation does not appear to be
one of analytical perception or method (although
whatever methods and techniques are involved or developed in applying the "rigorous standards of the best

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