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Quebrada communities in the Palmarejo Valley, northwest Honduras

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Title:
Quebrada communities in the Palmarejo Valley, northwest Honduras
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English
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Klinger, William A
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University of South Florida
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Subjects / Keywords:
Mesoamerica
Archaeology
Community
Water
Settlement
Dissertations, Academic -- Applied Anthropology -- Masters -- USF
Genre:
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract:
ABSTRACT: The spatial relationships that exist between ancient and modern settlement and natural resources have the potential to suggest ways in which humans organized themselves into communities. This study evaluates the applicability of the concept, "quebrada community," for understanding human-environmental relationships in northwest Honduras during the Late Classic period (AD 650-900). Existing archaeological, quantitative, and geological evidence for quebrada communities are linked with spatial data on two contemporary local communities, Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. A geographic information system (GIS) is constructed and implemented in order to achieve this goal. It is argued that there are specific relationships that exist between ancient and modern populations, their environment, and quebradas and that these relationships support the hypothesis that organization around water resources is present at the level of the community.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
System Details:
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility:
by William A. Klinger.
General Note:
Title from PDF of title page.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 132 pages.

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aleph - 001970465
oclc - 276433059
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0002328
usfldc handle - e14.2328
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Quebrada Communities in the Palm arejo Valley, Northwest Honduras by William A. Klinger A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Karla L. Davis-Salazar, Ph.D. E. Christian Wells, Ph.D. Lori D. Collins, Ph.D. Date of Approval April 4, 2008 Keywords: Mesoamerica, archaeology, community, water, settlement Copyright 2008, William A. Klinger

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For my parents, Tim and Peggy Klinger

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Acknowledgements I wish to thank my committee, Karla Da vis-Salazar, Christian Wells, and Lori Collins, for their support and guidance throughout this process. The research presented here is part of the USF Palm arejo Community Archaeological Project, which is supported by the National Geographic Society, th e Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, and various granting agen cies at the University of South Florida, including the Office of Research and Scholar ship, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Faculty Development Committee, the Instit ute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Ce nter for Global Solutions. Fieldwork was conducted in cooperation with the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, including Daro Euraque, Carmen Julia Fa jardo Cardona, Eva Martinez, Oscar Neill, Aldo Zelaya, and the late Juan Alberto Du rn. I extend my deepest gratitude to the residents of Honduras and the Palmarejo Vall ey for allowing me access to their culture and history while I was a guest in their country. I am forever indebted to Lori Collins and Travis Doering of the Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies at the Universi ty of South Florida. Any future success as an archaeologist is due in large part to th e opportunities they have afforded me. I am especially grateful for the friendships of Jos Moreno, Zaida Darley and Jamie Hawken. Finally, I wish to thank my family in No rth Carolina for their continuous support. My girlfriend, Angela Throckmorton, is the most patient and understanding woman I know and was my single greatest source of motiv ation over the past two and half years.

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Table of Contents List of Tables iii List of Figures iv Abstract vii Chapter 1. Introduction 1 The Study Area 2 Organization of Thesis 6 Chapter 2. Theoretical Framework 9 Traditional Approaches to Community 10 Structural-functionalist 11 Historical-developmental 12 Ideational 12 Interactional 13 Imagined Communities 14 Settlement Patterns 16 Landscape Studies 19 Human-Environment Interaction 21 Communities Elsewhere in Mesoamerica 23 Ancestral Pueblo Communities: An Example from the American Southwest 26 Modern Communities 29 Definition of Community 31 Summary 32 Chapter 3. The Archaeology of Communities and Landscape in NW Honduras 34 Archaeological Investigations Prior to 2004 34 Archaeological Investigations, 2004-2007 35 Quantitative Methods 38 Soil Analysis 38 Northwest Honduras in Prehistory 39 Quebrada Communities in the La te Classic (AD 650-900) Palmarejo Valley 41 Summary 43 i

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Chapter 4. Field and Laboratory Methods for Documenting Quebrada Communities 45 Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning System Approach 45 Site-specific GPS Mapping 48 Data Analysis 54 Data Download and Backup 54 Postprocessing 56 Registration and Display of Data 56 Creating a Geodatabase 59 Cultural Site Analysis 61 Expectations 66 Summary 68 Chapter 5. Evidence for Quebrada Communities in the Palmarejo Valley 69 Spatial Relationships at the Valley Level 71 Spatial Relationships within Communities 73 Late Classic (AD 650-900) Pa lmarejo and Palos Blancos 75 Late Classic (AD 650-900) P acayal, El Morro, and Suyapa 78 Modern Communities and Infrastructure in Palmarejo and Palos Blancos 82 Palmarejo 83 Palos Blancos 93 Comparing Ancient and Modern Communities 96 Summary 108 Chapter 6. Discussion 111 Chapter 7. Conclusion 123 References Cited 126 ii

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List of Tables Table 5.1 Soil Data 101 iii

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List of Figures Figure 1.1. Map of northwest Honduras showing the location of Palmarejo and other major prehispanic sites (fro m Davis-Salazar et al. 2007). 3 Figure 1.2. The Palmarejo Valley, northwes t Honduras, showing the location of archaeological sites. 4 Figure 4.1. The author uses a Trimble GPS Pathfinder Pro XR receiver and backpack unit to conduct community mapping. 49 Figure 4.2. A large section of the Palmar ejo quebrada is located and mapped using sub-meter level accuracy GPS. 53 Figure 4.3. Raw data were first imported a nd backed up using the native software Pathfinder Office 2.90 (Trimble, Inc., Sunnyva le, CA, USA) then exported as an ESRI shapefile for use in a site-specific GIS. 55 Figure 4.4. A screenshot of the ArcMap 9.2 software displaying geographic information contained in the develope d personal Geodatabase for Palmarejo. 60 Figure 5.1. A map showing Cla ss 1 and 2 sites as well as the hierarchical ranking of streams that pass through the Palm arejo Valley. Heavier lines represent increased flow as accumulation increases. 72 Figure 5.2. A map of the Palmarejo Valley (circled in black) over which are highlighted the three synthetic stream derivative subsystems. 74 Figure 5.3. A map of the Palmarejo archaeo logical community and its associated quebrada as represented by a s ynthetic stream derivative. 75 Figure 5.4. A segment of the Palmarejo quebrada just befo re it enters a zacate field. 76 Figure 5.5. A map of the Palos Blanco s archaeological community and its associated quebrada as represented by a synthetic stream derivative. 77 Figure 5.6. Runoff that contri butes to the Palos Blancos quebrada system has cut this deep trench into the landscape. 78 iv

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Figure 5.7. A map of the Pacayal archaeolo gical community and its associated quebrada as represented by a synthetic stream derivative. 79 Figure 5.8. A map of the El Morro archaeological commun ity and its associated quebrada as represented by a s ynthetic stream derivative. 80 Figure 5.9. A map of the Suyapa archaeol ogical community and its associated quebrada as represented by a s ynthetic stream derivative. 81 Figure 5.10. A segment of Quebrada Gra nde, which flows year-round through the community of Suyapa. 82 Figure 5.11. Map of the modern community of Palmarejo (pink structures) and the nearby archaeological site (yellow structur es) along with select water features. 84 Figure 5.12. An example of a house in the community of Palmarejo with an attached open-air kitchen. 85 Figure 5.13. An example of a house in the community of Palmarejo with a separate, enclosed kitchen st ructure. Zaida Darley is seen to the left mapping the structure with the GPS unit. 85 Figure 5.14. One of the two school buildings in the community of Palmarejo. 86 Figure 5.15. The large Palmarejo water ta nk located approximately 600 meters north of the edge of the community. S hown (R to L) is Zaida Darley, Jose Moreno, the author, Marcos Villanueva, and Lito. 87 Figure 5.16. This artificial reservoir, fo rmed by damming, is located at a high elevation relative to the community of Palmarejo. 88 Figure 5.17. The constructed dam that is used to slow the flow of water runoff and thus form a check dam. 88 Figure 5.18. A presa constructed of large stones is shown here retaining natural spring water for daily use. 89 Figure 5.19. A presa constructed of concrete. 90 Figure 5.20. This artificially maintained natural spring source provides an alternative to quebrada runoff. 91 Figure 5.21. An example of the network of PVC piping that deliv ers water to the community at lower elevations. 92 v

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Figure 5.22. Map of the modern community of Palos Blancos (pink structures) and the nearby archaeological si te (yellow structures). 94 Figure 5.23. The large water tank located at the head of the Palos Blancos community. 95 Figure 5.24. A water tank located at a hi gher elevation above Palos Blancos. 96 Figure 5.25. Map indicating the location of the Main Group, the elite residential compound, and the possible artificially diverted quebrada at Palmarejo. 97 Figure 5.26. Detail of the East and West groups of Site 58 (Palos Blancos) and the associated quebrada. 99 Figure 5.27. Map of the Palmarejo Valley s howing the locations of soil samples used for the present analysis. pH cont ent (%) is represented with graduated symbols. 102 Figure 5.28. Map of the Palmarejo Valley s howing the locations of soil samples used for the present analysis. Clay c ontent (%) is represented with graduated symbols. 103 Figure 5.29 Semivariogram models (purple line) applied to the pH (K-Bessel, top) and clay (Exponential, bottom) values of the soil samples. 105 Figure 5.30. Map indicating the location of cu ltural and natural f eatures relative to interpolated pH levels for th e community of Palmarejo. 106 Figure 5.31. Map indicating the location of cu ltural and natural f eatures relative to interpolated clay content for the community of Palmarejo. 107 Figure 5.32. Map indicating the location of cu ltural and natural f eatures relative to interpolated pH levels for the community of Palos Blancos. 107 Figure 5.33. Map indicating the location of cu ltural and natural f eatures relative to interpolated clay content for th e community of Palos Blancos. 108 vi

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Quebrada Communities in the Palm arejo Valley, Northwest Honduras William A. Klinger ABSTRACT The spatial relationships that exist betw een ancient and modern settlement and natural resources have the potential to suggest ways in which humans organized themselves into communities. This study eval uates the applicability of the concept, quebrada community, for understanding human-environmental relationships in northwest Honduras during the Late Classic period (AD 650-900). Existing archaeological, quantitative, and geological evidence for quebrada communities are linked with spatial data on two contemporar y local communities, Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. A geographic information system (GIS) is constructed and implemented in order to achieve this goal. It is argued that there are specific relationships that exist between ancient and modern populations, their envi ronment, and quebradas and that these relationships support the hypothesi s that organization around wate r resources is present at the level of the community. vii

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Chapter 1. Introduction In this thesis, I examine the spatial relationships among prehispanic and modern buildings and natural resources in the Palmarejo Valley in order to evaluate the applicability of the concept, quebrada community, for understanding humanenvironmental relationships in this area during the Late Classi c period (AD 650-900). A quebrada community, as defined by Davis-Salaza r et al. (2005; Davis-Salazar and Wells 2007; Hawken and Davis-Salazar 2006), is a unit of social organization arising from interactions among inhabitants who occupy and share access to a quebrada (seasonal stream). The community is reflected in a se ttlement pattern consisting of residential groups dispersed along a seasonal stream, or quebrada. Using hi erarchical cluster analysis and rank-size analysis supplemented by soil analyses and archaeological excavation, Davis-Salazar and Wells (2007) explore the idea that, based on existing evidence, all sites in the Palmarejo Valley may fall into one of five main groups, each with a politically independent center. The research presented here expands on pr evious archaeological and quantitative analyses with the goal of evaluating the exte nt to which the quebrada community concept is applicable in the Palmarejo Valley both in prehistory and in the present day. Adler (2002:25) notes that the community concept provides an appropriate scale for appreciating social structural relationships at and above the househol d level. I argue that 1

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it is possible to develop a defi nition of quebrada community th at is both archaeologically testable, and recognizes the diversity of huma n-environment interactions in prehistory and the role of natural resources in community. My goals in this thesis are: 1) to review the current debate surrounding prehistoric co mmunities and the models used to explain them in order to frame the present research within that discussi on, 2) to construct a geographic information system (GIS) that synthesizes existing archaeological and geological datasets with community-level spat ial data, and 3) incorporate quantitative and spatial analyses into a cultura l site analysis model to suggest ways in which prehistoric and contemporary communities were/are influenced by natural resources. Additionally, Davis-Salazar et al. (2007) ar gue that one way in which archaeology can contribute to rural development is by provi ding alternative organizationa l models of settlement and land use. A contextualized definition w ill contribute greatly to contemporary rural development initiatives designed to assist lo cal farmers with more sustainable landscape management strategies. The Study Area The geographic focus of this research is a localized area within a branch of the Naco Valley, northwest Honduras (Figures 1.1 -1.2). Specifically, I focus on two modern communities, Palmarejo and Palos Blanco s, and their associated prehispanic archaeological sites. While ongoing archaeologi cal investigations are revealing much about the main site of Palmarejo, its resident s, and their lives, we are just beginning to understand the influence of the natural la ndscape and resources on the development 2

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patterns of other settlements in the valley (Davis-Salazar et al. 2005, 2007; Wells et al. 2004, 2006). Figure 1.1. Map of northwest Honduras show ing the location of Palmarejo and other major prehispanic sites (f rom Davis-Salazar et al. 2007). 3

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"" ! ! " " " !!" !!! !!!#" " ! ! " ! ! " ! !!!#! ! !#!#! ! ! ! " # !! ! ! ! " ! !Suyapa Pacayal El Morro Palmarejo Palos Blancos 00.51 0.25 Kilometers # Class 1#Class 2 Class 3!Class 4"Class 5 USGS Stream Derivative Figure 1.2. The Palmarejo Valley, northwes t Honduras, showing the location of archaeological sites. 4

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The Naco Valley is a 96 km 2 area located in northwest Honduras and is enclosed by gently rounded hills of schist and lim estone (Anderson 1992:94). The geography of the valley is characterized by a broad alluvial plain extending in an east-west direction to the banks of the Ro Chamelecon, the larges t flowing water source, which has a northnortheast course. The elevation of the valley floor is 100 mete rs and the mountains on the northwest and southeast ri se to greater than 1000 and 2000 meters, respectively (Anderson 1992:95). Annual rainfall is approximately 1300 mm (Andrade 1990) and contributes to the fertility of the valley s soils. The land comprising the Palmarejo archaeological zone is referred to here as th e Palmarejo Valley, a side branch of the Naco Valley. This area is characterized by steep, impassible mountains to the east and relatively smaller mountains to the west with at least three passes into the rest of the Naco Valley system. Several quebrada systems, or s easonal streams, traverse the valley floor in a roughly east-west direction. Their sources pr imarily consist of runoff from the valley walls and several natural springs, many of whic h are located on the eastern edge of the valley where much of the ancient settlement was concentrated. The two sites that I include in the present community study are Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. These were chosen based on several characteristics. Palmarejo is the largest site in the valley and is believed to have been the politically dominant center in the area due to its size, lo cation, site layout, and archit ecture (Novotny 2007). Palmarejo consists of 93 structures incl uding elite residences and a po ssible ball court. Ceremonial and administrative structures form the core of the site. Based on its present condition and relative location w ithin the valley, it appears to be strategically located. The main group sits between two major branch es of a quebrada system, with the branches forking on the 5

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west and extending in northeast and southeast directions once it passes the site. It is unknown whether these ancient wate r courses were completely natural or modified by the residents, but their course th rough the ancient ruins is significant. Also strategic to the sites location is the soil quality. Palmarejo sits just east of a high concentration of alluvial fans and floodplains. This, along with pH levels, clay values, and high nutrient content render Palmarejo and its vicinity the most productive land for maize agriculture in the valley (Verdaasdonk 2007; Verdaasdonk and Wells 2006). Palos Blancos sits to the southeast of Palmarejo. Several characteristics make Palos Blancos distinctive from the other sites in the valley. It is one of the oldest and longest occupied sites in th e valley (Davis-Salazar et al 2005). Like Palmarejo, Palos Blancos also seems to be strategically located due to its proximity to a large quebrada whose course (currently dry) runs in a northeast-southwest di rection directly north of the main ruins. Survey and excavations have re vealed primarily reside ntial structures and distinct plazas, and the s ite layout seems to be unique in the Palmarejo Valley. Interestingly, the modern community that is located near and around the ancient site is by far the smallest in the valley (Hawken 2007:66). Organization of the Thesis This thesis is organized into seven chapte rs. Chapter 2 provides a brief review of the literature relevant to my study. I deal specifically with the debate surrounding community studies in archaeology by exam ining two general frameworks: one that emphasizes archaeologically visible traits such as site boundaries a nd evidence of water management (e.g., Kolb and Snead 1997; Murdock 1949; Redfield 1955), and another 6

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that views the community as imagined in the minds of the constituents (e.g., Isbell 2000; Yaeger and Canuto 2000). I then offe r examples from Mesoamerica and the American Southwest that illustrate the diffi culty in applying the community concept to archaeological populations. I then discuss th e potential for modern communities to inform the interpretation of the prehistori c landscape. I conclude by offering my own definition of quebrada community. Chapte r 3 provides an overview of previous archaeological research that has been conducted in the Naco and Palmarejo Valleys. Additionally, I examine how comm unities and the modified la ndscape are represented in the archaeological record and briefly describe the types of data that have been used to interpret them. I also discuss how ancient quebrada communities have been hypothesized using quantitative analysis and soil analysis. In Chapter 4 I describe my methods of data collection and the construction and implementation of a GIS. I describe in detail my use of mobile GIS technology during the 2007 field season and how I utilize spatial da ta of contemporary communities. I then describe cultural site analysis as a way in which to integrate multiple datasets, including collected site-specific GPS data, in a GIS in order to achieve a higher degree of understanding of the spatial relationships between cultura l and natural resources. My expectations are also outlined in this chapter. Chapter 5 presents the results of community mapping and GIS analysis. I describe how I approach quebrada communities from spatial, environmental, and cultural pers pectives. I also describe how modern communities use a variety of constructed and natural water features on the landscape, such as water tanks and natural springs. 7

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Chapter 6 is the discussion portion of this thesis and bridges the theoretical and analytical ideas developed in the previous chapters. I discuss pattern recognition and meaning in relation to spatial data analysis and why the results are significant. I show how linking multiple datasets from the Palmar ejo Valley contributes to an understanding of ancient communities by providing context. Finally, I discuss the applicability of quebrada communities in the Palmarejo Valley using a cultural site analysis approach, which recognizes each component of a cultural system as contributing to how and to what degree of success human populations make a living in a particular environment. Finally, Chapter 7 presents my conclusions and summa rizes the role of quebrada communities in prehistoric and contemporary times. 8

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Chapter 2. Theoretical Framework A study of communities in the archaeological record must take into consideration the multiplicity of factors that contributed to when, where, and how humans organized themselves on the natural and cultural lands capes. Adler (2002:25) points out that the concept of community is an idealized so ciological construct that relies on the conjunction of things mental and physical, including space, identity, residence, and resource use. Thus, the role of quebradas in influencing communities in the Palmarejo Valley should be considered in relation to data that inform us about other aspects of daily life, such as subsistence and agriculture. The first section of this chapter re views how researchers have hypothesized ancient communities. This includes an examination of settlement pattern and landscape theories, both of which have contributions to make to the discussion of prehistoric communities. I then consider how human-environment interactions and resource use have been investigated in the past and why such a perspective is important when hypothesizing quebrada communities in the Palmarejo Valley. The goal of the first section is to develop a relevant definition of community that guides my interpretation of th e data in subsequent chapters. 9

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Traditional Approaches to Community The use of the term community in arch aeological studies has, until recently, been loosely applied to descri be various aspects of human so cial organization. The terms history and development is rooted firmly in sociological and anthropological thought where it served as a way to describe ethnograp hic societies and their structure, including family and kinship organization (Kolb a nd Snead 1997:610; Yaeger and Canuto 2000:2). Community has often been applied to describe any form of regular or face-to-face social interaction without much consideration of how the term is applied (Hegmon 2002:265). In one sense it was useful because it provided the researcher with a catch-all term that readers could understand and rela te to. This is one reason for the recent emergence of publications devoted exclusivel y to exploring how community is defined and applied in archaeology (e.g., Hegmon 2002; Isbell 2000; Kolb and Snead 2007; Marcus 2000). A good starting point for understanding traditional applications to community is Kolb and Sneads (1997:611) three irreducib le elements of human community: 1) social reproduction, 2) subs istence production, and 3) self -identification and social recognition. Social reproduction o ccurs within an arena of rep eated interactions that serve to ensure the continuance of the communit y. Similarly, subsistence production occurs within the realm of community organization, and features such as land tenure are often shaped by such social interactions. Finall y, boundary maintenance and manipulation as well as social and economic identities serve to link individuals to a common sense of membership (Kolb and Snead 1997:611). These three elements can be further broken down and examined in relation to the social and archaeological theories on which they 10

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are based, distinguished by Yaeger and Ca nuto (2000:2) as stru ctural-functionalist, historical-developmental, ideational, and interactional. Structural-functionalist Theories addressing the development and reproduction of human social structure during the earlyto middle-1950s stressed the organic qualities of the community. Communities were assumed to be a pre-existi ng and natural social entity (Yaeger and Canuto 2000:2). In The Little Community Robert Redfield (1955) breaks down and examines the components of the human co mmunity from a structural-functionalist perspective, including ecologi cal systems, social structur e, and history, arguing that together they form the basic unit of hu man social organization. Arensberg (1961:241242) draws a distinction between the community as object versus the community as a unit of study. Such a distinction implies that the community exists separately from what it supposedly represents and, according to Hegmon (2002:268-269), is what eventually led to dissatisfaction within archaeology of how ancient communities were being conceptualized and how they were being tested. A concept such as community is susceptible to our own biases and presupposit ions. In order for it to be useful, it is necessary to define it in such a way as to allow for its application using existing archaeological methods rather than attempt to separate it into a dichotomy of social unit and method. 11

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Historical-developmental Historical-developmental approaches to community served as a reaction to deficiencies of structural-f unctionalism (Yaeger and Canuto 2000: 2). Rather than take for granted the existence of communities in preh istory, researchers began looking for their origins. One of the first to do this was Eric R. Wolf (1955) who recognized two important characteristics of communities. First, he ar gued communities play diversified roles within a larger whole. This recognition not only foreshadowed recent arguments that communities are more complex than social st ructure, but it set the foundation for studies that seek to situate communities within envi ronmental parameters: part of the larger whole. Second, Wolf (1955) argues that certain functions that are rela ted to the whole are carried out by groups within communities. With these two observations, Wolf has essentially repositioned the community with in a local termini of a web of group relations which extend through intermediate levels (Wolf 1955:1065). Instead of simply being a discreet unit of social organiza tion, which they are in many situations, communities are now part of an integrated w hole. Absent from Wolfs analysis is any mention of the environment, but his argument can be applied to natural resources as part of the whole. Ideational Self-perception has been the focus of much of the debate surrounding communities in archaeology and can be categorized as an ideational approach. There are different manifestations of se lf-perception that influence ones sense of community. An individual can view herself or himself as a member of a particular community based on 12

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certain cultural qualities, beliefs, or norms. The same concepts can be applied to other people, or what Yaeger and Canuto (2000:23) describe as mutually agreed upon and self-ascribed cultural categories. This and other similar ideational approaches stress the importance of shared identitie s in constituting communities. Interactional The question of the role of relationships between individuals ha s also shaped the discussion concerning the role of communitie s in archaeology. These are categorized as interactional approaches and focus on the natu re of face-to-face in teraction instead of simply stating that it exists. The goal is to illuminate what roles relationships themselves play in all aspects of society and how this ma nifests at the community level. Interactional approaches are thus aimed at expanding the community to incorporate the many roles an individual plays in the broa der social structure. This broadening is useful when suggesting that members of a particular co mmunity are simultaneously members of other communities. In other words, the archaeologi st can hypothesize relationships at different resolutions, including that of the community. Evidence for the relationships that existed between the occupants of Palmarejo and those in the larger Naco Valley can be found in site plans, monumental arch itecture, ceramics, and huma n burials (Novotny 2007). Such patterns suggest that smaller-scale comparisons can be made in order to illuminate social relationships. 13

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Imagined Communities Alternative approaches define community on the basis of se lf recognition, or imagining oneself and others as members of a distinct entity defined by interaction (e.g., Isbell 2000; Yaeger 2000). This approach is much more difficult to recover in the archaeological record because imagined commu nities can manifest themselves in many different ways, some more tangible than others. Isbell (2000:249) describes imagined communities as being volatile, characterized by dynamism rather than permanence. He goes on to argue that imagined commun ity as a concept recognizes that correspondence between a so cially interacting gro up, a bounded territory, economy, politics, reproductive pool, intergenerational education, desires and sentiments, can exist only in an ideal model, not in the real worl d (Isbell 2000:249-252). In some respects, the concept of imagined community parallels the theoretical orientations described above for traditional approaches. Both have an ultimat e goal of recovering the community in the archaeological record in such a way that mean ing is not lost. The role of the community within the larger structure of social reproduction, organization, and interaction necessarily carries with it a duality of meaning: from th e outside in and vice versa. Whereas the structuralist approaches tend to view community as having a specific role in relation to other cultural institutions (e.g., economic, political, ideolo gical), the imagined community is more fluid and dynamic. The ro les of community members are constantly shifting as technological and other de velopments reshape self-perceptions. There are many advantages to approaching communities from this perspective. According to Isbell (2000:249), imagined co mmunities enable archaeologists to move away from more deterministic behaviorist approaches that view cultural adaptation as the 14

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result of external forces alone, such as tec hnology and the environment. In other words, it gives archaeologists more freedom to attr ibute social reprodu ction to the people themselves as active participants in the rela tionships that dominate their daily lives. For example, instead of relegating the development of agricultural technologies to the need for more sustainable production, farmers are viewed as having control over how they negotiate immediate changes in their envi ronment. The approach developed for my research incorporates aspects of the imagined community con cept. It recognizes that the residents of the Palmarejo Valley were the primary driving force behind the fluctuating relationships in which they participated, incl uding with the environment. Viewed in this way, communities are no longer strictly bounde d entities to be mapped and measured but a collection of interactions as well. I integrate the two approaches described above by applying the strengths of each to the situation at Palmarejo and Palos Blan cos while at the same time recognizing the limitations described above. I use spatial and settlement pattern data in conjunction with archaeological evidence of economic and social relationships in northwest Honduras (see Novotny 2007) in order to inform my appro ach to quebrada communities. The limitations of traditional and imagined approaches ar e reduced because I incorporate additional datasetsincluding the results of soil anal yses, excavation and survey results, and distribution of buildingswhich emphasi ze human-environment interaction on both a cultural and natural level. Additionally, the comparison of ancient and modern settlements that are related spatially cont ributes to our understanding of the past by suggesting ways in which human communities may have responded to and interacted with natural resources (i.e., water). In the following sections I describe how studies 15

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dealing with settlement patte rns, landscape, and human-e nvironment interaction have shaped the discussion about the nature of prehistoric communities. Settlement Patterns Settlement patterns were first investigat ed as a source of social organization beginning with Gordon Willeys (1953) study of sites in the Viru Valley, Peru. From the beginning Willey recognized the many factors (s uch as technology and environment) that contributed to when, where, and how a se ttlement was pattern ed. Trigger (1968:54) describes Willeys approach as having breadth and [a] clearly functional view of settlement pattern phenomena. Willy was usi ng the settlement as a unit of analysis with the potential to illuminate other aspects of a populations cultur e. Rather than considering settlement pattern research as an approach in itself, it was thought of as a collection of datasets that could be integrated into a mo re inclusive framework. Willeys (Willey et al. 1965) Belize Valley project was another st udy that expanded on his emphasis of settlement patterns as a useful tool in archaeology. In it he used the concepts and definitions developed in Peru and applied them to the prehispanic Maya. Although not the first settlement pattern research conducted in the area, the projec t carried with it the realization that the type of approach he advocated had cros s-cultural potential. In other words, elements of human settlement pa tterns possessed a degree of universality. Chang (1968) viewed settlements as a proxy for the community. He writes that the settlement the local context wherein the community is presumed to have resided and to have gone about its daily business must substitute for the community (Chang 1968:3). Chang argued that, because the commun ity is difficult to define in archaeology, 16

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there must be an analogous data set that is recognizable in the archaeological record. This includes remaining architecture and artifacts associated with community life. He thus defined an archaeological settlement as the physical locale or cluster of locales where the members of a community lived, ensured th eir subsistence, and pursued their social functions in a delineable time period (Chang 1968:3). Chang al so noted that it is the changes over time within settlements that indi cate shifts in comm unity organization and constitution. If the cultural stratigraphy of a site suggest s significant and meaningful change over any length of time, then a new community can be said to have existed at the same site. Trigger (1968:55) conceive d of settlement patterns in terms of three levels: individual buildings or stru ctures, arrangement of thos e structures within single communities, and distribution of communities on the landscape. In many ways this seems to be the basic framework underlying most early settlement pattern st udies in archaeology and is easily applied to a variety of geogra phic areas. Any site that contains standing architecture or evidence of discreet settle ments can be surveyed and mapped. A general impression of different communities can be app lied to their locations, including the use of quantitative methods such as the hierarchical cluster analysis used to initially define quebrada communities in the Palmarejo Valley (Davis-Salazar and Wells 2007). Additionally, Triggers three levels are genera l enough to be tailored to any number of environmental contexts. When proposing how communities are distributed over the landscape one can consider factors such as proximity to water, passable mountains, soil productivity, plant and animal biota, and neighboring cultures. Fina lly, Triggers threelevel conception relies on easily recove rable archaeological remains. Standing 17

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architecture is often the most durable evid ence of past human activity and is thus amenable to this type of analysis. A more recent example of settlement research that has expanded upon work conducted in previous decades is Hughbanks (1998) survey, mapping, and excavation at Guijarral, a rural Maya site located in northwest Belize. This Late Clas sic (AD 600-900) site is notable for its dive rse topography, dense settlement, and different architectural types across multiple occ upation periods. Hughbanks incorporates the natural environment and land management strategies into a study of settlement patterns at Guijarral. The primary goal of the study was to evaluate the argument that a land management system designed to maintain ag ricultural productivity and minimize loss of soil productivity was utilized in conjunction with the maintenance of certain landscape features. As Hughbanks (1998:107) notes, one important asp ect of spatial organization is the pattern of artificial modifications to the community landscape. Here the concept of community is applied in the context of dir ect interaction with th e environment. While individuals and groups of i ndividuals have the capacity to directly access their environment via landscape modifications, in this case we see the reverse: the natural environment can influence how a community reacts to a necessity for agricultural productivity. The Guijarral study also highlig hts the overlapping nature of community, settlement, and landscape. I now descri be how landscape studies have shaped conceptions of community within archaeology. 18

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Landscape Studies Landscape studies are closely related to se ttlement pattern studies. To a certain extent both address the spatial relationships between ancient structures and activity areas. Additionally, both have incorporated con cepts of community into their various approaches. Where landscape studies differ from those dealing with settlement patterns is the ways in which the former conceptuali zes reality. Layton and Ucko (1999:1) define landscapes as particular ways of expressing conceptions of th e world and they are also a means of referring to physical entities. For the anthropological archaeologist, this definition touches on two important and necessary points. First, ancient societies existed within a particular environm ental and historical context in much the same way that modern societies do. This not only reveals the potential biases on the part of the researcher but also the difficulty that arises when a concept such as community is being applied to an extinct population. Second, if land scapes can refer to physical entities, then it is possible to recover elements of that landscape through ancient structures, landscape modifications, and artifacts. Theories that underlie landscape studies are often concerned with one of two general principals: e xplanation and understanding (Layton and Ucko 1999:2-3). This distinction has been attri buted to Weber (1947) who believes that regularities in huma n behavior can be explained in terms of sociological laws and understood through observations of meaningful interaction. The postmodern roots of landscape studies present numerous challenges to both the archaeologist and the anthropologist (Layton and Ucko 1999:3). Once such challenge is recognizing and addressing our own biases as researchers attempting to apply a concept, community, to a population that no longer exists. For the modern Western 19

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archaeologist, a community can be any variety of things from a small family group to an entire village. As described in previous sect ions, a consistent and inclusive definition of community is difficult to formulate for these reasons. Community can mean many different things to many different people. That this can occur simultaneously further complicates the recovery of archaeological communities. Although it is impossible to achieve a bias-free concept of how past popul ations viewed themselves, a researcher must acknowledges the difficulties and works within the scope of available evidence. Another challenge presented by postmodern c oncepts of landscape is determining how community was viewed in the past by the pe ople that constituted them, apart from any preconceived notion the researcher may have. As mentioned above, the unique environmental and historical cont exts that influence cultural pa tterns also played a role in social organization on the landscape. To what de gree this occurred is partly the job of the archaeologist. The potential for landscape frameworks to address quebrada communities in the Palmarejo Valley lies in the connection between the quebradas as a water resource and the way in which ancient and contemporary residents organized themselves in relation to them. Whereas settlement pattern studies can illuminate spatial relationships on one scale, investigating landscapes incorporates the cultural and natural environments into a single perspective. Landscapes of the past are observable by the archaeologist if there is a degree of repetitiveness to certain human behaviors (Layton and Ucko 1999). In the case of quebrada communities repetitive actions related to procuring water or modifying existing natural sources will, over time, l eave signatures on the landscape that are 20

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recoverable using archae ological methods. This includes, bu t is not limited to, the spatial arrangement of architecture proximate to the course of quebrada systems. Human-Environment Interaction Investigating human social organization, es pecially at the level of the community, requires an understanding of the environmen tal context in which a population exists. According to Lentz (2000:2), people are im mersed in the biosphere as much as any other organism and should not be viewed as di stinct. With this in mind, there are several considerations that are relevant to evalua ting the concept of quebrada communities for the Palmarejo Valley. First, modeling human-e nvironment interaction in prehistory has developed over the decades to include the recognition that humans are neither apart from nature nor exempt from having to deal with the effects of its changes. The notion that humans once lived in a pristine, harmonious ba lance with nature has since been shown to be a misrepresentation of the past (Redman 1999). Instead, it is now recognized that humans are as much a part of the environm ent as any other organism, acting and reacting within the boundaries of the land and its resources. For community studies this means achieving a balance between culture and na ture and formulating a definition that accurately captures humans role in an ev er-changing environment. Second, communities cannot be divorced from their environment if a complete picture is to be recovered through archaeology. Focusing only on standing architecture or building aggregations, for example, overlooks the influences of agriculture, water management, resource procurement, trade, population movements, and a host of other human activities on community development and reproduction. Third, communities are forced to react to 21

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changes that are beyond their c ontrol such as those caused by weather, geological events or climatic fluctuations. In the Palmarejo Vall ey at the site of Palos Blancos, residents constantly referred to Hurricane Mitch a nd its shortand long-term effects on the landscape. The 1998 storm devastated Honduras both economically and environmentally and many communities were forced to change aspects of their daily lives for these reasons. At Palos Blancos, a major quebrada system that supplied water to many of the homes in the community was disrupted. H eavy machinery had to be brought in to retrench portions of the runoff courses from th e nearby north and east valley walls. In this particular situation, an entire community felt the effects of Hurricane Mitch in a similar way. Two related research fields, environm ental history and human ecology, can be incorporated into the study of quebrada communities. Environmental histories are concerned with the interacti ons between nature and human societies in the past, gives agency to place and tries to link human history with natural sy stems (Winiwarter 2003:3). My approach for evaluating que brada communities includes a method for linking ancient and contemporary spatial re lationships and requires a historical perspective that provides a dditional context for future archaeologists who wish to incorporate definitions of community into their own research. Central to theoretical approaches developed in this field are past perceptions of nature, including cultural traditions that developed as a result of the relationship between humans and their surroundings. Another central element is th e reconstruction of past environments. Environmental reconstruction with an hi storical perspective acknowledges that everything that happens not only has a when but also a where determining its quality 22

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and significance (Winiwarter 2003:3). Spatia l analysis along with the environmental data that I include in a GIS is a step in this direction by bridging multiple datasets and highlighting the relationships that exist between them. Another research field, human ecology, is more closely related to social science research and my approach incorporates some of the methods that have been developed for postulating the relationships between huma ns and the environment. Human ecology is partly concerned with natural resources a nd how they are viewed and used by humans. Schutkowski (2006:vii) states that resources and their use are, as it were, the interface where humans integrate in the flows of material and ener gy and where their variable exploitation by means of cultu ral solutions become the ha llmark of human niches. I argue that the resource under investigation is water and th e cultural solutions developed to deal with its exploitation occurr ed at the level of the community. Communities elsewhere in Mesoamerica The debate as to how an ancient co mmunity should be defined has obvious implications for how they are recovered using the tools of archaeology. Canuto and Yaeger (2000:xiii) note that most archaeolo gists directly associate the social entity community with the analytical term site . This, according to the authors (Yaeger and Canuto 2000:xiii), has resulted in an im poverished methodological and theoretical framework for studying past communities. Brie fly reviewing some of the characteristics that have been used to recover ancient communities in Mesoamerica, especially as they relate to water resources, provides a starting point for evaluating the applicability of the quebrada community concept for the Palmarejo Valley. 23

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Near the Maya site of La Milpa in northwest Belize, Kunen (2004, 2006) describes how high socioeconomic status with in a community was based on access to a large number of high quality productive resour ces. This is eviden ced in the size and composition of house compounds, the elaboratene ss of architecture, rebuilding episodes, and length of occupation. The author viewed water resources, small enclosed depressions called bajos as a productive resource that could se rve as a source of status and wealth. Settlements located near one particular re source, the Far West Bajo, exhibited an occupation history and architectural complexity suggestive of the importance of the bajo as a controllable water resource. House plat forms were more elaborate than simple unfaced rubble found elsewhere in the region. Masonry, burial chambers, and artifact caches further suggested that the three comm unities Kunen delineated for the Far West Bajo were more prosperous than neighboring settlements. In this example, occupation history, architecture, and re building episodes are viewed as indicators of distinct communities within a single resource zone. Joyce and Hendon (2000) offer an example of community identity from northern Honduras. For the Late Classic site of Cerro Palenque three criteria are described as suggesting the existence of a self-conscious community identity for the past inhabitants (Joyce and Hendon 2000:145). They include the spatial distribution of architectural features, the absence of unique features in smaller segments of the community, and distinctive pottery styles and stone tools. Architecture at Cerro Palenque consists primarily of small cobble mounds and cluste rs of patio groups, which are believed to have been residential groups. Each of the four patio groups identified at Cerro Palenque contained at least one large plaza group consis ting of significantly larger and taller 24

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mounds. These were identified as public admi nistrative, ceremonial and possible elite residences. The sites that date to the Termin al Classic period are described as a single community based on unvarying pottery and architectural styles as wells as the distribution of poor-quality ch erts and chalcedonies. At Ce rro Palenque, community is defined not on the basis of site boundaries but rather on the ba sis of identity as evidenced through stylistic attributes. Investigations carried out in the Naco Valley during the 1980s and 1990s do not specifically address the nature of communitie s in the region but do shed light on what they may have looked like. Urban (1986) descri bes architecture and si te planning in terms of the chronological sequence for the valley, ranging from Middle Preclassic (Period I) to Early Postclassic (Period 6). Structures at Santo Domingo (Site #123), the principal site during the Terminal Preclassic, were construc ted of rounded river cobbles and earth with perishable superstructures. Some had stairway s running the entire length of the structure. Later structures exhibit irregular arrange ments, cobble platform facings, bajareque (wattle and daub), and perishab le superstructures. Site planning during the Terminal Preclassic is patterned as wellthe placement of structures was determined by slight changes in elevation on the landscape, with seve ral structures toward the east part of the site following visible contours. These examples demonstrate how architectur e and artistic styles site layout, and chronology can aid in identifying communities in the archaeological record. Investigating patterns in architecture and site layout are pa rticularly useful because of the spatial relationships that may exist between th em and the environment (Urban 1986:291). However, when viewed separately none are sufficient in and of th emselves for drawing 25

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conclusions regarding the exis tence of a community. The question of what an ancient community should look like is complex, and I address this complexity by synthesizing existing archaeological and environmental datasets, conducting a series of spatial analyses, and making comparisons between ancient and modern settlements. Ancestral Pueblo Communities: An Example from the American Southwest The struggle to bridge the gap betw een hypothesizing ancient communities and recognizing them on the landscape has been a constant challenge for archaeologists everywhere. The initial object ive of community-level arch aeological research in the central Mesa Verde region was to place a pa rticular locality, Sand Canyon, in a larger context (Varien and Wilshusen 2002:10). Ad ler (2002:25) descri bes his experience dealing with the community concept in the Mesa Verde region of the American Southwest at the site of Sand Canyon Pueblo as a negotiation betw een explanation and description: In theory community provides a conceptual context within which social identity, residence, occupational hi story, land tenure, and re source use are socially spatialized on a suprahousehold level. In practice the community is always in the process of being defined and redefined based on emigration and immigration, relationships with surrou nding local populations, hist ories of land use, and conflict. One goal of the survey undertaken at and around Sand Canyon Pueblo was to ascertain the role communities played in development and persistence through time of the settlement system of which Sand Canyon was the center. The area around Sand Canyon and nearby Goodman Point Pueblo was found to contain a high densit y of sitesover 17 per square km. This observation suggested that Sand Canyon and Goodman Point were at the center of a large cluster of settlements. The initial survey revealed several patterns 26

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indicative of the relationship that existed among the sites. First, evidence for the occupational history of the area suggeste d that the Sand Canyon and Goodman Point Pueblos were the center of human activ ity from approximately AD 600 through 1200. Second, few sites were documented in th e area half way betw een the two pueblos, suggesting that the clusters associated with each indicated a particular level of social organization. Finally, public architecture (e.g., great kivas and great houses) also exhibited clustering and was located within walking distance of where each pueblo eventually developed. With evidence of site clustering around two primary centers, researchers were able to postulate the existence of different communities that were spatially bounded by the extent of architecture and site distribut ion. While sufficient as a descriptive model for ancient communities, researchers soon recognize d that this analysis was unsatisfactory on an explanatory basis, which was the primar y objective of the original project. They recognized that spatial b oundaries alone were not sufficient for meeting their expectations for what a community should look like in the archaeological record. In an attempt to rectify the disparity between community as explanation versus settlement pattern, the Sand Canyon project de veloped one concept of community that viewed it as a risk-buffering strategy designed to justify, reproduce, and defend the sets of social relationships that underlie individual, household, and corporate (multihousehold) group access to productive resour ces across the local landscape (Adler 2002:30). The creation and enforcement of la nd tenure rules and community organization contributed to the communitys role in socially defining local resource use. In this sense the community becomes more than a settlement pattern or organizationa l tool. It is also a 27

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distinct social entity abov e the level of the household th at functions as a buffering mechanism against the risks associated with resource use. These risks include fluctuations in environmental parameters (e.g., precipitation, erosion, etc.) as well as the costs of investing socially in community-l evel relationships. The supporting evidence for communities in the Mesa Verde region required linking archaeological data on community patterning and ethnographic acc ounts of community size, resource availability, population levels, and subsistence strategies (A dler 2002:32). An important component of this aspect of the project was assessing the variability in community spatial formats (e.g., household distri bution around great kivas or cl usters of residential and ritual architecture). This was done using survey data from the Sand Canyon locality that indicated the makeup of different clusters of buildings, the commonalities between them, and changes in size over time. Two important points made by Adler (2002:28, 29) for the Sand Canyon area are that the community concept implies that community integrity is dependent on some spatial aggregation of residential activity and spatial distance be tween households is not necessarily equivalent to social distance. In other words, researchers at Sand Canyon Pueblo were able to employ two concep ts of community: one that relies on archaeologically visible spatial characteristic s and another that considers environmental parameters as a reason for ancient populations to act at the community level. The link between these two concepts can be found in the relationship between the environment and how people respond to it in their daily lives though architecture, site layout, water management features, and identity. 28

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Modern Communities Documenting the characteris tics of modern communities that are related to its interaction with the environment can be used to suggest similar ways in which ancient residents of the same geographic area may have interacted with their environment. This notion was first recognized for the Palmar ejo Valley after the 2004 field season. Wells and Davis-Salazar (2004) describe how intervie ws with local residents indicated that the most reliable and highest quality sources of wa ter in the valley are located in the area of Palmarejo, as are the most fertile soils for farming. This may suggest one reason why the ancient residents of Palmarejo experienced the greatest wealth during the Late Classic (AD 650-900). Previous research has also highlighted the effects of globalization and urban expansion on modern agricultural su stainability and natural water resources (Davis-Salazar and Wells 2006, 2007; Davis-Sal azar et al. 2007; Wells et al. 2006). Due to the expansion and modernization of farm s by non-resident landowners, the availability of productive land is decreasing, forcing farmer s to grow in marginal areas that are sloped, and resulting in the rapid loss of soils during heavy rains. This unsustainable practice and its unintended consequences has resulted in a fragile situation where the residents of the Palmarejo Valley are having to deal with threatened water resources and decreased agricultural productivity. One of the goals of recent archaeological research in the Palmarejo Valley has been to address the problems faced by contemporary farmers by looking to the past. During the Late Cla ssic period (AD 650-900), the residents of Palmarejo faced a similar situation with the expansion and urbanization of the nearby site of La Sierra. In this respect, research ha s been focused on the effects of agricultural practices on soil productivity. This, along w ith evidence for population expansion in 29

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prehistory, can be used to suggest ways in which contemporary populations can develop more sustainable farming practices in the face of urbanization a nd globalization (DavisSalazar et al. 2006). The ancient and modern communities of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos provide a strategic opportunity to deve lop questions about the degree of influence quebradas had on the organization of ancient communities. Both sites have major branches of quebrada systems running through or near them. Palmarej o is the largest archaeo logical site in the valley and is believed to have been the dom inant political and economic center during the Late Classic period (AD 650-900) Palos Blancos, the second largest archaeological site in the valley, may have had exclusive access to the valleys natural re sources prior to the rise of Palmarejo. Excavations carried out during the 2005 field season suggest occupation at Palos Blancos began by about AD 400, roughly two centuries prior to when large numbers of people moved into the area (Hawken 2007:65-66). Finally, the distribution of modern commun ities in the Palmarejo Valley is significant because it is similar to the distri bution of major archaeo logical sites (Hawken 2007:57). For these reasons, these two communities are amenable to comparisons both spatially and temporally in order to address my central re search question: in what ways and to what extent is quebrada community a useful c oncept for describing and explaining ancient settlements in the Palmarejo Valley? One component of the research presente d in this thesis is community mapping. Modern structures and water-related infrastr ucture in Palmarejo and Palos Blancos were mapped using sub-meter level accuracy GPS. This added a temporal dimension to the analysis of archaeological data and is useful for maki ng comparisons between water 30

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resource utilization in the pa st and today, especially if the contemporary situation is similar to what happened during the prehispa nic past. Furthermore, as evidenced by the information gained by Wells and Davis-Sal azar (2004) from inte rviews, involving the local residents with archae ological research is importa nt for the success of any community-based initiative that makes use of archaeological data. Gloc kner et al. (2004) conducted a community mapping project in Da r es Salaam, Tanzania, that directly involved the local community in the planning, fieldwork, and resu lts stages of the project. With the goal of improving local water quali ty and procurement conditions in different neighborhoods, the authors felt it necessary to include those who have most at stake. They found that involving the community not only aided community relations to varying degrees, but that many of the residents felt empowered and better prepared to negotiate with water companies and politicians. Definition of Community Drawing from the theoretical approaches described earlier as well as the potential for modern communities to aid in the interpretation of archaeological data, a concise definition of community for the purpose of evaluating quebrada communities in the Palmarejo Valley, Honduras, is possible. Here a community is defined as a fluid and dynamic level of social organization that is characterized by 1) the hierarchical arrangement of human activity areas, namely architecture, 2) patterned spatial relationships between those activity areas and nearby water resources, and 3) selfidentification as evidenced through materi al markers of social relationships. 31

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Summary The theoretical roots of the discussion regarding the use of community in archaeology extend back to the middle of the 20 th century where researchers drew from different branches of the social sciences, including anthropology and sociology. Kolb and Sneads (1997) three irreducible elements of the community can be used as a basis for exploring how the concept has been applied to populations known only through archaeology. Approaches addressing social reproduction can be tr aced to structuralfunctionalist theories that vi ew the community as a bounded enti ty to be recovered in the archaeological record. Dissatisfied with this perspective, archaeologists began to search for the geneses of communities by broadening their definition to include other aspects of social structure. Historical-d evelopmental approaches thus added much-needed context to community studies by recognizing that the ge neses of human communities did not exist in a vacuum. Self-perception and how one view s others in relation to the entire group have been integral to defining communities from the inside out, as have approaches focused on elucidating social and economic relationships. These are possible though the study of material remains such as stylistic attributes and architecture. More difficult to achieve is an understanding of how comm unities may have been perceived by the constituents themselves. The methods and th eories of other fields have also been developed by archaeologists in order to a ddress ancient communities. Settlement pattern and landscape studies both address the spatia l relationships between ancient structures and activity areas but on a variety of scales Human-environment interaction has been modeled in numerous ways, focusing primar ily on diachronic perspectives that offer context to natural resource utilization. El sewhere in Mesoamerica, archaeological 32

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communities have been recognized on the basis of architecture and artistic styles, site layout, and the changes over time in these characteristics. Finally, the problems associated with hypothesizing ancient communities are not limited to Mesoamerica. In the American Southwest, researchers recognized the limitations of sp atial approaches and attempted to bridge the gap between the ar chaeological community and the environment in which it existed. With these frameworks in mind, the following chapters present both existing and new lines of evidence that c ontribute to our unders tanding of ancient communities in the Palmarejo Valley. 33

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Chapter 3. The Archaeology of Communiti es and Landscape in NW Honduras In Chapter 2 I reviewed the theoretical frameworks that have been used to hypothesize different levels of human organi zation in prehistory. Landscape archaeology, settlement pattern studies, and human-environment interactions are informed by decades of research in the social sciences, while traditional and imagined approaches to ancient communities characterize a complex and multif aceted debate within archaeology. In this context, I now move to archaeo logical and geological eviden ce specific to the Palmarejo Valley. The primary objective of this chapter is to outline the extant data and describe how they are integrated with new datasets, which consist of the spatial locations of contemporary communities and water resources. Archaeological Investig ations prior to 2004 As described in Chapter 1, the Palmarejo Valley is a side branch of the larger Naco Valley, a 96 km 2 area located in present-day nor thwest Honduras. Archaeological investigations have been conducted in the ar ea since the late 1930s (Strong et al. 1938) and continued during the 1970s by Corn ell University (Henderson 1977, 1978; Henderson et al. 1979). The bulk of excavations and survey has been carried out by Edward M. Schortman and Patricia A. Ur ban during the 1980s and 1990s (e.g. Schortman and Urban 1992; Urban 1986:275-295). Surface surveys have documented 369 sites with 34

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1200 surface-visible structures throughout the N aco Valley. More recently, investigations suggest that the prehistoric populations of this area, while certainly influenced by elements of the Maya civili zation, are primarily the product of centuries of economic and social interactions among lo cal groups (Novotny 2007). Excava tions at 19 sites in the valley focused on developing a chronology of the area. By the Late Classic period (AD 650-900) La Sierra had emerged as the dominan t center in the valley as evidenced by the number of structures and frequency of craft production workshops (Novotny 2007:39). Archaeological Investigations, 2004-2007 Most recently, the Proyecto Arqueolgico Comunidad Palmarejo (PACP) has conducted investigations in the Palmarejo Valley under the direction of E. Christian Wells, Karla L. Davis-Salazar, and Jos E. Moreno Corts (Davis-Salazar et al. 2005, 2007; Wells et al. 2004, 2006). Four seasons of fi eld investigations have revealed much about the cultural and natural hi story of the area and the intera ctions that existed between its ancient residents, the neighboring Naco Valley, and the Maya area to the west (e.g., Novotny 2007). Research has also revealed the na ture of hierarchical settlement patterns in the valley and how natural resources zones influenced trade and production divisions (e.g., Hawken 2007). The initial goals of PACP included expanding upon the pedestrian survey conducted in the Naco Valley by documenting similarities and differences between the valleys and investigating regional exchange re lationships in the area during prehistoric occupation. With these goals in mind and furt her expanding on previous surveys of the Naco Valley conducted by Schortman and Urban, Wells et al. (2004) conducted a full35

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scale pedestrian survey of the 15 km 2 Palmarejo Valley in order the test the hypothesis that the site of Palmarejo was the capital of its own settlement system. An archaeological map was produced of the zone using a Total Station. Ninety-three buildings were recorded at the site. Of these, 15 were classi fied as monumental, ba sed on size (Wells et al. 2004). The two quebrada branches that pass through the site core were also documented and it was revealed that the si tes residents may have constructed and maintained a reservoir. Survey during th e 2004 season also provided evidence for more than six artificially terraced agricultural fields. Soil sample s were taken from these areas and provided further evidence of the productivity of the area. Ninety-six additional prehispanic sites were recorded in the valley with a total of 665 surface visible buildings. Ceramics were us ed to date all occupation to the Late Classic period (ca. AD 650-900). The 2004 survey defined a site as any evidence of human occupation and/or use, taking in resource zones, sherd scatters, and more pronounced remains such as mound groupings (Urban 1986:277 as quoted in Hawken 2007:33-34). Additionally, sites were delineated based on distance (at least 100 meters from an adjacent site) and/or significant topographic feat ures. Such features included quebradas, which are a major component of the current hypothesis that the valley contained five distinct communities, each with its own capital. The ancient settlements in the valley we re subsequently classified according to size (Davis-Salazar et al. 2007; Wells and Da vis-Salazar 2004). Th e largest site is Palmarejo (Site 80) and contains 93 structures, at least tw o formal plazas, and a possible ball court. It is the only Class 1 site in the valley. The Class 2 sites in the valley are Pacayal (Site 30), Palos Blancos (Site 58), El Morro (Site 66), and Suyapa (Site 68). 36

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There are five Class 3 sites w ith residential and patio groups and 56 smaller, Class 4 sites with residential groups. Thirty field houses, or separate structures located away from residential zones, compose the Class 5 sites. Palmarejo along with th e four Class 2 sites comprise what is believed to be the hierarch ical arrangement of the largest sites in the valley (Davis-Salazar and Wells 200 7; Wells and Davis-Salazar 2004). Prior to 2004, little was know n about the relationships that existed between the sites in the valley and the surrounding areas (Novotny 2007). Since then excavations have been conducted at the Main Group and elite re sidential zones of Palmarejo. Excavations have also been carried out at the sites of Palos Blancos (S ite 58), Pacayal (Site 30), El Morro (Site 66), and Suyapa (Site 68) (Wells et al. 2005). All known sites in the valley have been documented and/or mapped using a Total Station or tape and compass with GPS. Soil samples have also been obtained throughout the valley a nd analyzed to assess agricultural productiv ity (Verdaasdonk 2007). The role of the seasonal que bradas in the Palmarejo Valleys settlement pattern was recognized early on (Davis-Salazar 2004; Da vis-Salazar et al. 2004 ). It was apparent that the quebradas were a determ ining factor in both the layout of major sites in the valley and the administrative control of local agricult ural fields (Wells a nd Davis-Salazar 2004). In other words, the largest sites in the valley (i.e. Class 1 and 2 sites) positioned themselves at strategic loca tions relative to th ese water resources. Quantitative methods and soil analyses have been used to expl ore the degree to which ancient communities were influenced in this manner. 37

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Quantitative Methods One way different communities have b een postulated for the Palmarejo Valley settlements is through the results of hierarchical cluster analysis, a formal method for grouping sites based on proximity. DavisSalazar and Wells (2007) treated the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates of sites in the valley as simple Euclidean distances and observed that the sites clustered into nine groups. Further taking into account geography and topography, they discovere d that the sites could be grouped into five main groups, each with a Class 2 site locate d toward the eastern edge of the valley at the head of a major quebrada. In order to as sess the degree of soci o-economic integration of the Palmarejo Valley settlement syst em, Davis-Salazar and Wells (2007) also conducted rank-size analysis of the sites. He re, the sizes and hier archical rankings are considered as indicators of the level of organization among sites in each community. The results of the rank-size analys is support the notion that Palmarejo was the regionally dominant center during prehis tory while Pacayal, Palos Blancos, El Morro, and Suyapa were politically independ ent, secondary centers. Soil Analysis Soil analysis was conducted in order to te st the idea that different communities had access to the most productive land for agriculture. Based on the groupings of sites in the valley and the differential access to natu ral resources that may have existed as a result, it was hypothesized that land was among the resources th at were controlled by the most politically dominant centers (Dav is-Salazar and Wells 2007; Verdaasdonk 2007; Verdaasdonk and Wells 2006). Soil fertility wa s measured using pH, nitrogen, potassium, 38

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phosphorus, and soil composition variables. E ach of these play important roles in productivity, with pH having the most substa ntial effect. Fifty-four soil samples were analyzed for the variables listed above with discriminant function an alysis, indicating pH and clay contributing the most to the overall variation seen in the data. Valley-wide soil quality was estimated using kriging, a method used for in terpolating unknown values based on known values. Kriging assumes that regions or points that ar e close together are more similar than regions or points that are further apart, with a variogram model predicting the degree of spa tial correlation and thus en abling interpolation. The variogram model developed for the original soil quality anal ysis was visualized in the Surfer 8.01 computer program and overlayed on a plan view line drawing of the valley (Verdaasdonk and Wells 2006). Northwest Honduras in Prehistory The results of the research described a bove have contributed to our understanding of the settlement, political economy, and regional interactions present in the area prior to the arrival of Spanish explorers in ca. AD 1525. Evidence for occupation in the larger Naco Valley system dates back to the Mi ddle Preclassic (1050-400 BC). Settlement was dispersed with monumental earthen platform s at three sites suggesting hierarchical organization was present (Urban 1986). As the Late Preclassic (300 BC-AD 300) transitioned into the Early Cl assic (AD 300-600), no single site appeared to dominate the area, although the thr ee mentioned above served admini strative purposes during this time (Urban 1986). Interreg ional contact during the Early Cl assic is evidenced by stylistic similarities between ceramics recovered in the area and those manuf actured in the nearby 39

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Copn and Ula valleys (Urban 1986). By the Late Classic (AD 650-900) the Naco Valley had experienced signifi cant population growth, a tre nd which continued until the arrival of the Spanish (Henderson 1977; Urban 1986). A dominant political and economic center developed at La Sierra and evidence in dicates it participat ed in importing goods, producing crafts, and constructing monumental architecture (Schortman and Urban 1992; Urban 1986). In the Palmarejo Valley, occupation exte nds back to the Early Classic (AD 300600) as evidenced by ceramic analysis and ra diocarbon dating (Wells et al. 2006). Over the course of the centuries, sites in the Palmarejo Valley exhibited a similar trajectory in terms of population expansion, although the site of Palmarejo emerged as a major political and economic center by the Late Classic (AD 650-900). However, with 468 buildings the nearby site of La Sierra established itself as the largest and most powerful center in the region (Schortman and Urban 1991). The 2005 field season revealed much in the way of chronology and degree of o ccupation during the different time periods. Excavation demonstrated that all of the sites in the valley (with th e possible exception of Palos Blancos) exhibited decreasing occupati on by the end of the Late Classic (Wells et al. 2005). Palos Blancos is unique in this respect because cultural materials were recovered more than three meters below ground surface, whereas excavations at other major sites typically produced th e most artifacts in the first 15 -30 cm of soil (Wells et al. 2005). Research pertaining to the settlement patt erns and site distributions within the Palmarejo Valley has been discussed in the context of evaluating regional dynamics among elites (Davis-Salazar and Moreno-Cort s 2006; Novotny 2007), social and natural 40

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resources (Hawken 2007), and postulating the role of water resources in community settlements (see Davis-Salazar and Wells 2007 for the most recent example). Settlement pattern analysis and the compos ition of the sites in the valley have been used to reach several important conclusions. The settlement pattern found in the valley is believed to have been partly influenced by the natural resources that were available for consumption, including pine, igneous and metamorphic rock, limestone, cedar, and clay (Hawken 2007:59). The distribution of natural resources enabled each of the proposed community capitals to benefit from the procurement a nd utilization of the resources unique to their area of the valley. I propose that in addition to these natural resources, the quebradas that flow throughout the valley also contribute to the delineation of the five communities, each with their own Class 2 site. The next section describes each of the quebrada communities as they appear in relation to the archaeological sites in the valley. Quebrada Communities in the Late Cl assic (AD 650-900) Palmarejo Valley The northernmost community in the valley is Pacayal. This region is comprised mostly of foothills and alluvi al fans and contains less fl oodplain than the rest of the valley (Hawken 2007; Kuehn 2006). Archaeologicall y, it is smaller than the other Class 2 sites in the valley but is rich in terms of natural resourcesprimarily schist, river cobbles, and quartzite (Hawken 2007:58). The former two resources were commonly used for building materials throughout th e valley while quart zite was a common component in pottery manufacture. Currently, the main quebrada runs continuously yearround, except in periods of severe drought. 41

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Approximately 1 km south of Pacayal is th e Class 1 site Palmarejo, the largest in the valley. It is comprised of 93 structures including elite residences, a civic-ceremonial center, and a possible ball court. Palmarejos location within the valley is significant for three reasons. First, it is locat ed just east of the most agricu lturally productive land in the valley. Soil analysis results indi cate that nutrient content re nder this land productive for maize agriculture, which is currently what most of the land near Palmarejo is used for (Hawken 2007:64). Second, the main quebrada along which the communitys sites are located passes directly through the core of the site, with one branch extending past the south part of the civic-ceremonial center and the other past the southe rn edge of the elite residential area. Third, of the five commun ity capitals in the valley, Palmarejo is the closest to the site of La Sierra, which is located to the west in a neighboring section of the Naco Valley system. La Sierra is believed to have been the dominant political and economic center in the Naco Valley by the Late Classic and exerted influence over Palmarejo in the form of site planning, monumental archit ecture, and similar forms of elite identity (see Novotny 2007). The Class 2 site of Palos Blancos is lo cated approximately 1.8 km southeast of Palmarejo. This site is unique in both its layout and occupation hi story. Like Palmarejo, productive soil and access to water appear to have rendered the Palos Blancos environment attractive to prehispanic resident s. At present the que brada is dry, but the path it has cut in the landscape is substant ial, suggesting that this particular quebrada course has been in existence for a long peri od and that its flow rate was significantly greater than that of Palmarejo. 42

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Tucked in the eastern foothills of the valle y, the Class 2 site of El Morro has been radiocarbon dated to AD 685-883. El Morros most reliable natural resource appears to be well-watered and productive agricultural land s composed of alluvial fans and terraces (Kuehn 2006). The site is also located near the valleys largest clay source, a distinction it shares with the nearby site of Suyapa to the so uth. It is believed that most of the pottery found in the Palmarejo Valley was produced locally, with few instances of imported materials (Hawken 2007:67). The final and southernmost community grouping as suggested by hierarchical cluster analysis has the Class 2 site of Suyapa as its capital. This area of the valley is very diverse in terms of natural resources. These include the large, constantly flowing Quebrada Grande; groundstone used for manos and metates; perlite that would have been fashioned into blades, scrapers and points; and the largest clay source in the valley (Hawken 2007:69). Suyapa is uniqu e in its lack of overall buildings (many of which were most likely destroyed by modern settlem ent), although it does contain impressive architecture and the single tallest structur e in the valley. This could be due to the abundance of natural resources in the area, which may have financed the monumental constructions (Hawken 2007:70). Summary The Naco Valley and one of its side br anches, the Palmarejo Valley, have been the focus of archaeological investigations since the 1930s. Prior to 2004, survey and excavation revealed that occupation in the region dated to the Mi ddle Preclassic (1050400 BC) with a dispersed settlement pattern and little in the way of monumental 43

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architecture. By the Late Classic (AD 650-900) significant population growth had contributed to the rise of bot h La Sierra and Palmarejo as important social, political, and economic centers that experien ced trade relations with ne ighboring groups and perhaps each other. More recently, inves tigations and analyses have re vealed a five tier settlement hierarchy, with Palmarejo the most domina nt settlement and Pacayal, El Morro, and Suyapa as regional capitals, perhaps exerting control over specific local resources (see Hawken 2007). Quantitative and soil quality an alyses further support the notion that the hierarchical arrangement of sites in the va lley was partly influenced by the seasonal quebradas, resulting in five economically and possibly politically independent quebrada communities. In the next chapter, I describe how I documented various components of these communities and synthesized the result s with existing lines of evidence in a GIS environment. 44

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Chapter 4. Field and Laboratory Methods for Documenting Quebrada Communities The goal of my research project as desc ribed in Chapter 1 is to expand upon what is already known about settlement at the leve l of the valley as well as to evaluate a concept of quebrada community that has been proposed for the area (Davis-Salazar et al. 2004). The purpose of collecting data on modern buildings and their arrangements in the two communities is to provide a comparativ e basis for examining human interactions with the environment both in a specific lo cation and across time. I investigate the applicability of the quebrada community concept by constructing a geographic information system that a) synthesizes existi ng data with GPS data that I collected during the 2007 field season, b) provides a means by which to analyze spatial relationships, conduct quantitative analyses, and model human-environment interactions, and c) provides visual representations of archaeological and modern constructions for pattern recognition. Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning System Approach Many recent publications are devoted solely to the use of GIS in the collection, management, analysis, and dissemination of ar chaeological information (e.g., Allen et al. 1990; Chapman 2006; Conolly and Lake 2006; Wheatley and Gillings 2002). This recent surge in archaeological applications of GIS is related to several factors, most notably the 45

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ease with which data are processed and mani pulated. Conolly and Lake (2006:1) observe that the study of [GIS] ha s now matured to the point where non-specialists can take advantage of relatively user-f riendly software to help th em solve real archaeological problems. GIS technology is in many ways tailor made for archaeological applications. This becomes apparent when the constituent parts of a GIS are considered in the context of archaeological materials. Marble (1990) breaks down a GIS into four general components. First, data entry involves the set of proce dures employed whereby spatial data are collected and organized into an input stream of known and carefully controlled characteristics (Wheatley and Gillings 2002:11). In archaeol ogy, this can involve collating any number of artifact s or feature attri butes with a spatial component into a single database. Furthermore, data entry can deal with datasets on varying scalesfrom the distribution of archaeological sites within a region to the re lative locations of prestige objects within a single burial. Second, the spatial database refers to the functions and processes that store spatial and attribute inform ation as well as provi de links to external database systems. The spatial database com ponent is responsible for much of the robust organizational properties of GIS, as it allows for the integration of different types of data storage and retrieval systems th at developed prior to the emergence of standardized GIS applications. Third, manipulation and analysis is responsible for the transformations that occur within the GIS environment and is th e component that produces information used to develop interpretations of spatial data. Finally, the visualization and reporting component of a typical GIS is what gives the archaeologist the ability to represent 46

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multiple complex datasets in a visually meaningful way, such as printed maps for publication. When I first decided to test the applic ability of the quebrada community concept as it was originally formulated by Davis-Sal azar et al. (2004), I im mediately recognized the utility of evaluating the concept using a GIS-based approach. While the data being used to support the original hypothesis are spatial in nature, that hypothesis was not taking advantage of the analyt ical and organizational techni ques available through GIS. Given the tremendous advances in computer technology over the past two decades that have rendered GIS relatively accessible and user-friendly, Wheatley and Gillings (2002:1) observe that most researchers would now be su rprised to see a regional archaeological project that did not claim to utilize it. This is not to suggest that archaeological projects such as PACP, under which I am conducting this research, should employ GIS for the sake of the technology its elf. Most reviews of GIS and archaeology are quick to point out that GIS is not an end in itself, but ra ther a collection of tools and methods that can be used to assist in the interpretation of spatia l attribute data (e.g., Conolly and Lake 2006; Wheatley and Gillings 2002). From the outset and during the design stages of my project I viewed GIS as a useful set of a pplications that can supplement previous analyses and suggest ways in which future research may be directed. In May of 2007, following several months of background and preliminary research into the archaeology of the Palmarejo Valley, I began field research in Honduras as a student of the Proyecto Arqueolgico Comunidad Palmarejo under the direction of Karla L. Davis-Salazar, E. Christian Wells and Jos E. Moreno-Corts. My primary 47

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objective as outlined in my research proposal was to collect spatial data on the location and extent of the seasonal quebrada systems that traversed the floor of the valley with the goal of later integrating these da ta with previous seasons rese arch results. I concentrated on two ancient and modern communities: Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. In addition, I mapped, using sub-meter accuracy GPS, any cultural and natural features related to water that I encountered in the two areas. This incl uded natural springs that served as sources for the quebradas, water holding tanks, small water retention constructions ( presas ), and human-modified features of the landscape. An unanticipated but important addition to my research plan was the collection of spatial data regarding modern houses and infrastructure in the valley, namely at Palm arejo and Palos Blancos. Thus, my plan is a spatially significant view of the Palmarejo Valley landscape in terms of its water resources, both in prehistory and today. The following sections describe in detail how I collected data and the organizational stru cture of the data collection process. Site-specific GPS Mapping My primary method of data collection in the field was through the use of a GPS data collection unit owned and loaned to me by Dr. Lori D. Collins of the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida (Figure 4.1). Mobile GIS is the combination of geographic information system software, global positioning systems, and mobile computing devices (ESRI 2004). Prev iously, GIS and GPS procedures occurred separately. One might spend time in the field collecting GPS locational data, then return to the laboratory to process, enter, and repres ent that data within a GIS. Mobile GIS is a relatively new addition to the family of arch aeological applications of GIS. The main 48

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difference between it and traditional GIS applic ations is that with mobile GIS, data collection, processing, and analysis can occur simultaneously. This is due primarily to advances in computer technology that enab le increased processor power and storage capacity to be contained within sm all, mobile computer interfaces. Figure 4.1. The author uses a Trimbl e GPS Pathfinder Pro XR receiver and backpack unit to conduct community mapping. 49

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There are two main components to the M obile GIS unit that I used in Honduras. The first is the receiver, a Trimble GPS Path finder Pro XR. This component consists of a backpack that contains four camcorder batterie s to power the unit (two batteries in use at a time), the receiver (also contained in the backpack during use), and a metal pole on which an antenna/beacon is attached. The beacon provides the means to receive a GPS signal from a constellation of at least 24 satellites orbiting the earth. The second component is the data logger, a TSC1 running Asset Surveyor software. The data logger is essentially a handheld computer that is used to collect, store, and view GPS locational data collected with the receive r. The firmware that is inst alled on the data logger serves several important functions. Its primary f unction is to communicate with the GPS receiver and store locational da ta in a file format that can be downloaded to a computer. The data logger also communicates with the user by providing info rmation about signal strength, number of visible sa tellites, the effect of visibl e satellite geometry (known as the position dissolution of precision, or PDOP), and data that has been collected. The data logger also has the capability to upload and store data dictionaries. A data dictionary is a collection of user-defined terms that is pr edetermined before fieldwork. Its purpose is to allow rapid data collecti on of features and objects that the user anticipates encountering in the field. Examples of data dictionary terms that might be used during archaeological survey include mound, lithic scatter, pos thole, and so on. When an anticipated object is encounter ed, the user simply recalls a data dictionary term and records the objects location. This dictiona ry is especially useful when multiple individuals are recording G PS information by allowing for consistency in attribute 50

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information logging. Another function of the da ta loggers firmware is the ability to document point, line, and polygon features. Th is is the function that I used in the Palmarejo Valley. I chose to record only point and line features rather than employ a data dictionary because the data I was collecting consisted of only a handful of types that could easily be recorded in the form of field notes and I did not have multiple persons deciding on attribute nomenclature. Due to th e relative simplicity of operating the unit and the ease with which data collection occurs, preplanning is minimal and the entire process is highly adaptable in the field. I a llotted five weeks for acquiring the data I originally planned to collect, which turned out to be more than enough time. As a result, I was able to extend my original research plan to include information of modern communities and infrastructure. When data collection is ready to be gin, the user places the four charged camcorder batteries and the receiver in th e backpack. Two of the four batteries are connected to the receiver, which is in turn c onnected to the satellite beacon as well as the data logger. While the data logger itself contains a rech argeable, non-removable battery the entire system is powered initially by the camcorder batteries. The unit can collect data continuously on one charge for approximately one days worth of field work. Once in the field, the data logger is powered on and a fe w minutes are necessary for the beacon to locate, connect to, and receive locational data from the satellites. Once the required number of satellites (at least four) is visible and the user has confirmed that the unit is collecting usable data, actual data collection can proceed. For my purposes, I was prepared to ma p cultural and natura l features on the landscape that were related to water. I theref ore only utilized the point and line features 51

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of the data logger. For quebrada courses, I first located and traversed as much of the course as possible and assessed how easy or difficult it would be to map a particular segment, deal with any obstacles that I en countered such as brush clearing, and write field notes. I then initiated the GPS unit, pr ompted the data logger to begin a new line feature, and walked as much of the quebrada segment as possible while the beacon transmitted GPS positions to the data logge r (Figure 4.2). Once I had completed the segment, I prompted the data logger to store the line feature for subsequent download and backup. When I encountered a water-related feat ure, I instructed th e unit to collect the current position as a point feature. This invol ved standing as close to the feature as the usable signal allowed and collecting a minimum of 30 GPS points at one-second intervals. This redundancy of point collection minimized the degree of error inherent in GPS data though a point averaging process. All individual water features and some quebrada segments were also photographed a nd recorded in field notes. All modern homes in each community were mapped as well. A minimum of three GPS locations were taken on each utilized structure (and in certain cases abandoned or destroyed structures as well). This incl uded living quarters, kitchens, animal pens, and covered or enclosed storage. Depending on constructi on method, terrain, and ot her factors, living quarters and kitchens were either the same structure, partially connected (e.g. an open kitchen just off the main house but with a shared roof), or completely separate. 52

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Figure 4.2. A large section of the Palmarejo quebrada is located and mapped using sub-meter level accuracy GPS. Each point and line feature mapped was assigned a unique ID, which was inputted as an attribute detail directly on the data logger and associated with a corresponding geographic location. For quebrada segments, I assigned the letter Q plus a sequential number. In my field notebook, I documented the approximate location of the quebrada segment, any observations about its condition (f low, debris, modifications, etc.), and if there was any indication that the particular segment was being directly utilized by the nearby residents. Modern houses and other build ings were recorded in a similar fashion. Each residence in the Palmarejo community was preceded by the letter H (for home) and a sequential number. In the community of Palos Blancos the convention was HP followed by a sequential number. Therefore, the four locations of the first house I 53

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mapped were each labeled H1. If the home had a separate kitchen or storage structure, this was denoted using the labels H1-kitche n, H1-storage, and so on. Several small, family-owned and operated stores known as pulperas were present in both communities and these were associated with houses as we ll. Other structures encountered included two school buildings in each community, a chur ch in Palmarejo, and uninhabited houses in various stages on construction or destruc tion. In addition to noting the condition and purpose of each modern structure, I recorded a family or owner name as it was given to me by the occupant at the time of my vis it. Here, I do not use the names for anything other than organizational purposes and to get a general idea of family relationships within each community. Data Analysis The data analysis I employed for documenting quebrada communities can be described in three phases: data download/ backup, postprocessing, and the registration and displaying of data in a GIS. Data download and backup When data collection was completed for the day I returned to the PACP laboratory in Cofrada, disassembled the G PS unit and placed the camcorder batteries on the charger to be ready for the next session. Da ta collected that day were stored either on the data loggers internal memory or on a removable PC flash card. My procedure was to collect data directly to the logger, then transfer it to the PC flash card, which was then removed and backed up on my laptop computers hard drive. I used GPS Pathfinder 54

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Office 2.90 (Trimble Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, USA) for Windows as the native software to retrieve, process, and back up data collected in the field (Figure 4.3). Raw data were backed up as Trimble field data files. Figure 4.3. Raw data were first imported a nd backed up using the native software Pathfinder Office 2.90 (Trimble, Inc., Sunnyva le, CA, USA) then exported as an ESRI shapefile for use in a site-specific GIS. 55

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Postprocessing The next phase involved e xploring and postprocessing th e data in the Pathfinder Office program. I viewed the data I had co llected over the course of the day which appeared as a collection of lines and points. Once I verified that the data being displayed matched what I had mapped that day by comparing them to my field notes and sketch maps, I exported the raw data as an ESRI shap efile, a geospatial vector data format that is used in GIS software. I then imported the shapefile into ArcMap 9.2 (ESRI, Redlands, CA, USA) for further data analysis. The final phase of laboratory methods involved representing and displaying the data in a GIS environment. I used ArcMap 9.2 for this task as well. ArcMap is described by its de veloper as a complete system for authoring, serving, and using geographic information (ESRI 2007). Once the point and line data were imported in the correct format to ArcMap, I developed different methods of representing that data. The product of thes e methods can be seen in the maps used throughout this thesis, and the data display in the GIS informed the mapping procedure for the next day. Registration and display of data The bulk of formatting and visual representation of my da ta occurred once I returned to the United States. As it turned out, the collection of outside data and the subsequent formatting of all datasets proved to be the most time-consuming aspect of the entire process. The primary reason for this is because spatially referenced geographic information can exist in a variety of format s with different project ions and coordinate systems. 56

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There are two primary methods of storing data in formats that are recognized by GIS software: raster and vector Raster data are composed of rows and columns of cells where each cell contains a single numerical valu e. When represented in a GIS, each cell can be assigned a unique color or symbol. A digital elevation model (DEM), where each cell contains an elevation value, is an exam ple of raster data. The other type of data common to GIS is vector. Vector data consist of points, lines, and polygons that represent various features in the real world. A useful f eature of vector data is that attributes are associated with each feature in the form of a table. For example, a water feature may contain attribute data on the type of feature, who uses it, the amount of water available for procurement, and so on. The GIS I constructed for the Palmarejo Valley consists of both raster and vector data. Because spatial data can be rendered using a number of different map projections and coordinate systems, it is important to ensu re that all data are accurately represented and able to be depicted together. The surv ey data that I collec ted during the 2007 field season in the Palmarejo Valley was gathered using local coordinates and stored in the form of decimal degrees (DD). I was unable to perform differential correction in the field due to the location of the Palmarejo Valley a nd the inability to locate a base station in close proximity. I relied primarily on data co llected with an accepta ble PDOP value of nine or below. While the survey data I collected in the Palmarejo Valley were in decimal degrees, additional data that I needed were in other formats. The original GPS coordinates collected during the 2004 field season using a handheld device were in degrees/minutes/seconds (DMS) in a Microsoft Excel spread sheet. I used a formula for 57

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converting DMS to DD and was then able to import them into Ar cMap. Similarly, the raw soil data used to assess agricultural pr oductivity were obtained in the form of an Excel spreadsheet with northing and easting c oordinates. These data were converted to DD as well. The survey data collected in 2007, previous GPS coordinates, and raw soil data were projected on-the-fly On the fly projection is an automatic feature of ArcMap whereby layers of differing coordinate sy stems are unprojected and then projected based on the coordinate system of the first layer added. The result is an approximation of the spatial location of the data with unknown or differing c oordinate systems. The base layer to most of the maps in cluded in my thesis is a hillshade derivative based on a STRM Level 2 (30 m) DEM of Honduras and obtained from the Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science, a data ma nagement and research center that is part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS EROS 2007). It is based on the 1984 revision of the World Geodetic System (referred to co mmonly as WGS 1984). This particular dataset represents the highest resolution digital view of the geography of northwest Honduras that I was able to obt ain. As a result, I performed on-the-fly projection, based on the USGS dataset, for my GPS survey data as well as for the coordinates of previously collected soil data. In order for the newly-projected GPS surv ey data of the modern communities and water features to be useful in a GIS, I used the GPS points to digi tize or manually connect points to display as features in ArcMap. B ecause each point has a unique ID, I was able to differentiate between point s that were close together but represented as separate structures or features. I then used an exte nsion for ArcMap called XTools Pro (Data East, 58

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LLC., Russia) which enabled me to convert the drawing elements into a shapefile consisting of polygon features that represente d the various buildings in the communities. The next step was to digitize plan view draw ings of the archaeological sites of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. I obtained the drawings as Adobe Illustrator files which showed the site structures, scale, and north arrow. I conducted headsup digitizing where I imported the Illustrator file as an imag e and selected a minimum of four reference points (or pick points) that were common to both the image and the GPS data I obtained. Because I had mapped the location of datums used in previ ous seasons excavations and the coordinates of the 2007 excavations, I was able to use these as references. I then used the draw tool in ArcMap to manually position drawing elem ents and digitize them on the map based on the drawings. This tracing procedure then enab led me to use the XTools Pro extension to create another shapefile consisting of pol ygon features representing the archaeological remains at each site. Creating a Geodatabase A geodatabase is a way of organizing the ma ny different types of spatial data that can be represented in a GIS and displaying them in a common spatial projection. Groups of points, lines, or polygons are known as feature classes while a geodatabase can be described as sets of feature classes (O rmsby 2004:357). Major benefits of utilizing geodatabases include the ability to store multiple feature clas ses, labels and annotation, and the ability to create domains for attri butes. I employed a personal geodatabase for organizational purposes. All of the data that I planned to use in evaluating the quebrada community concept for the Palmarejo Valley were included in my geodatabase, creating 59

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an efficient way of importing multiple datase ts in a single GIS. The contents of the geodatabase includes: polygon features representing modern houses and structures; line features representing quebrada courses in the vicinity of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos; point features representing water infrastruc ture and archaeological excavations/datums; a USGS stream derivative for Honduras; and spat ial points with attri butes of pH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and sand/silt/clay values of soil samples taken in the valley (Figure 4.4). Figure 4.4. A screenshot of the ArcMap 9.2 software displaying geographic information contained in the develope d personal Geodatabase for Palmarejo. 60

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Cultural Site Analysis It is possible to link multiple types of evidence from different time periods in order to gain an understanding of particular relationships with the environment. In the case of quebrada communities in the Palmarejo Valley, I am examining the relationship between settlements and the quebradas that ar e believed to have influenced their location and distribution. In Chapter 2, I describe d how previous research has suggested similarities between the contemporary situati on regarding globalizati on and sustainability and how ancient residents had to deal with similar effects during the expansion of La Sierra (Davis-Salazar et al 2006; Wells and Davis-Salazar 2004; Wells et al. 2006). I believe the best way to further investigate th is temporal comparison is by using GIS and employing a multi-component approach to spatial data. Comer (2003) employs an approach he cal ls cultural site analysis, a method for identifying natural and cultura l features that are relevant to human use of an area (Comer 2003:106). The study was developed in order to investigate the shift from a nomadic to settled lifestyle in Neolithic sout hern Jordan at the site of Beidha and how cultural and environmental fact ors contributed to this change. Four main factors are considered in cultural site analysis: envi ronmental parameters, excavation results, traditional use areas, and current infrastruct ure such as roads and utilities (see Comer 1999). In Comers study, environmental data included satellite imagery, geologic features and soil anal ysis, and interviews with local populations regarding contemporary and historic land use. Results from excavations carried out during the 1960s and 1980s were used to determine Beidhas cultur al chronology and history, concluding that 61

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occupation extended as far back as 12,500 B.P. and extended through the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period (7500 to 9200 B.P.) (Comer 2003:109-110). Multiple cultural transitions and occupations were determined in part by excavation, and these results were incorporated into the cultural site analysis I use similar types of environmental data, namely evidence for soil productivity, from th e Palmarejo Valley in order to address my central question regarding the ro le of quebrada resources in th e lives of the residents of ancient communities. Traditional use areas are important fo r linking past and present resource utilization. Comer (2003:110) describes traditio nal use areas as those sets of resources and associated technological a nd cultural practices that ex ist in a given location. Comer notes that [the] archaeological record in c ountless places demonstrates that groups with technologies and social organi zations similar to those of past inhabitants often take occupancy of an environmental niche when conditions there return to those that existed when it was inhabited in the past. For the modern-day Palmarejo Valley, traditional use areas are the quebradas, the natural springs that feed them, concrete water retention pools called presas community water tanks, and stone retention walls. Such features are examples of ways in which current residents of the Palmarejo Valley interact with their natural environment on a daily basis. Base d on the current distri bution and layout of traditional use areas today as they relate to water use, I believe it is possible to infer which areas on the landscape may have been modified and maintained in a similar fashion during prehistory. Based on my conversations with local residents in the community of Palmarejo, the placement of mode rn constructed water features appears to be based on several factors, including proxim ity to residential areas, efficiency, location 62

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of natural sources (e.g. springs and runoff), and land access. Many of these factors may have been considered in prehistory as well, as evidenced in part by the location of Class 1 and 2 sites on the landscape. I draw conn ections between settle ments and the geography of the region, suggesting that drainage patt erns in the valley indicate where and how water was procured in the past. My adaptati on of cultural site an alysis focuses not on environmental reconstruction but rather the ut ilization of quebradas and the role of the components just named in the organization of communities. Finally, current infrastructure was incl uded in Comers (2003) GIS to determine how such developments influenced local pr actices pertaining to agriculture, water procurement, and so forth, thus possibly skew ing initial interpretations of the landscape. There are a number of current infrastructure features present in the Palmarejo Valley. Most notably a network of dirt roads, whic h has improved over the past several years, connects the entire valley to neighboring regions and provides access to a paved highway leading directly to nearby San Pedro Sula and other major cities, including the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. A large water tank is located near the town of Palmarejo and provides water to its residents, and a promin ent water access point is accessible directly off the main road. Electricity is accessible in the most populated communities and the majority of homes in Palmarejo and Palos Blancos are supplied. The increasing modernization of communities in the valley and the influe nce of San Pedro Sula have resulted in concerns about the long-term sustainability of current water management and agricultural practices. My thesis considers curr ent infrastructure as an integral part of quebrada communities in modern-day Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. 63

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The patterns revealed in Comers (20 03) Beidha study include the following. First, he found that a wetter and warmer c limate was present during periods of occupation at the site. He argues that this contributed to the widespread availability of water in the form of runoff channeled near Beidha and natural springs. Second, the climate reconstruction indicated that recovered faunal materials were most likely of the same species of wild goat still present today in a similar climate. Comer credited this to increased precipitation in the area that facili tated the goats gradual move south toward Beidha as water availability increased. Third, soil conditions in the area were productive agriculturally due to the presence of lim estone. The main components necessary for fertile soil were present (potassium and phosphorus) except nitrogen. Nitrogen was provided to the soil when the residents were able to domesticate and thus control the activities of the goat specie s. Finally, Comers overarching argument is supported when he correlated the shift from a reliance on domesti cated plants to the exploitation of plants and domesticated animals to increased precip itation, which in turn created the necessary conditions for wild animals to be present at the site in the first place. In other words, climatic conditions (i.e. environmental fact ors) were shown to have facilitated and correlated with a shift in cultural practices at Beidha. The data used in Comers study include faunal remains, soil evidence for c limatic episodes and ag ricultural productivity, and archeological data indicating cultural chan ge. By integrating these different datasets Comer was able to present a fuller picture of how the transition from a mobile lifestyle to a more sedentary one was influenced by environmental changes. The type of approach used by Comer is useful for three reasons. First, it explicitly distinguishes between the role s of natural and cultural features when gauging their 64

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influence on each other. This is important because I incorporate multiple datasets that include material remains (cultural) and environmental parameters, such as soil productivity and quebrada systems (natural). Second, cultural site an alysis is concerned not only with what each dataset can tell us a bout the past, but how those datasets can be used together to bridge gaps between what we know about human behavior in the past and what natural features influenced that be havior. For example, in the Palmarejo Valley the location of ceremonial and residential set tlements are known, as are structure layouts for the largest sites. In 2007 I collected data on the location of quebrada systems and other water related features. Quantitative analysis of these data has suggested the existence of clusters of sites around quebradas (Davis-Salazar and Wells 2007). My thesis tests the applicability of these clusters to a real-world situation by examining them in the context of additional datasets described above. Third, cultural site analysis demonstrates how GIS is useful for incorpor ating spatial and environmental data into a single dataset. It does so by enabling the analys is of separate datasets as an integrated whole, thus providing researcher s with an entirely new set of questions to be addressed. Davis-Salazar and Wells (2007) note that the correlation of adjacent clusters, as suggested by hierarchical cluster analysis to geographical features could not be performed in a GIS due to the absence of accu rate topographic data. I employ a series of digitization processes using aerial photography and satellite imagery to enable the visualization of site clusters in a GIS environment. 65

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Expectations Based on the theories and approaches desc ribed previously and the elements of cultural site analysis presen ted by Comer (2003), I am able to develop three primary expectations for the situation in the Palmar ejo Valley. These expectations arise from the ability of previous research throughout Meso america and elsewhere to recognize, define, and apply community concepts to material remains. Kolb and Sneads (1997) three irreducible elements of the community (s ocial reproduction, subsistence production, and self identification) serve as a starting point for unders tanding the many ways those elements manifest themselves in the mate rial record. I take advantage of this by integrating evidence for agricu ltural productivity, se lf-identification th rough architectural features, and historical context in the Pa lmarejo Valley. My expectations are also informed by the theoretical roots of co mmunity in archaeology which have been applied widely and reevaluated over the decades. This research is an attempt to reevaluate the community concept in the context of the Palmarejo Valley. Fina lly, my expectations consider natural resource use in an histor ical context by comparing ancient and modern settlement. The examples and theories outline d previously informed my own expectations for the Palmarejo Valley by highlighting both the difficulties in reconciling community with material remains and how to view thos e remains as indicators of past social organization. First, I expect to find that the closer a site is to a quebrada system and its nearby sources, the larger that site tends to be. Fo r example, if larger Class 1 and 2 sites are shown to be spatially related to major quebr ada systems to a greater degree than smaller 66

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sites, then it can be expected that the larger sites influence on local and regional social relationships is partly influenced by proximity to quebradas. Second, I expect to find that the largest settlements should not only be located near the most agriculturally productive ar eas (see Verdaasdonk and Wells 2006) but that both should be related spatially to quebradas. This is demonstrated in much the same way as my first expectation. This expectation draws in environmen tal parameters, specifically soil productivity, in order to assess the degr ee to which additional factors influenced community organization. In a cultural site an alysis approach, the e nvironmental data is used to provide context to spatial relationships and further support the integrated qualities of human-environment interaction. Third, I expect that the pa tterns described above can be applied for two different time periods in the Palmarejo Valley: Late Classic (AD 650-900) and modern day. One way of applying the patterns to two diffe rent time periods is by making comparisons between ancient and contemporary settlements. Survey data suggest that the development of historic and modern communities is re lated to the location of the two major archaeological sites (Hawken 2007:2-3). Both the contemporary Palmarejo and Palos Blancos communities overlay ancient structur es and house mounds, with the ceremonial centers of the respective archaeological site s within a short walking distance of every home. It is also worth noting that in the intermediate areas between the two communities there are no remaining major ceremonial stru ctures. Analysis of GPS data I collected during the 2007 season further supports this notion. Modern infrastructure including roads in the valley and water management f eatures can further suggest ways in which contemporary residents might deal with certain environmental circumstances. 67

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Additionally, in the Palmarejo Valley, the use of water resources fo r both agriculture and daily activities has been greatly influen ced by expanding populati ons and encroaching urbanization from the nearby city of San Pedro Sula (Davis-Salazar and Wells 2007). Archaeological evidence suggests that a sim ilar situation occurred in prehispanic times due to the occurrence of simila r population numbers and the social and political influence of the nearby Naco Valley (Hawken 2007:2, 20). Summary The methods described above were developed and impl emented with the goal of evaluating the concept, quebrada community, as it applies to th e Late Classic (AD 650900) Palmarejo Valley in northwest Honduras, specifically at the prehispanic sites of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. Additionally, I co llected data on two separate modern-day communities of the same names with the goal of providing a comparative basis, past and present, for investigating the relationship be tween humans and their natural environment, particularly as it relates to water resources. A cultural site analysis approach, as presented by Comer (1999, 2003), is useful in order to recognize the various components of a human environment and the multiplicity of ways by which inhabitants of an area influence and are influenced by aspects of th e natural environment. Additionally, cultural site analysis takes advantage of GIS that enab le the researcher to view multiple datasets simultaneously and conduct a variety of spa tial analyses not prev iously possible. The results of survey, GPS mapping, and GIS analys is are presented in the following chapters, as well as how existing archaeological and environmental datasets can supplement those results. 68

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Chapter 5. Evidence for Quebrada Communities in the Palmarejo Valley My objective during the 2007 fiel d season was to collect data that could shed light on the nature of ancient and modern communities in the Palmarejo Valley. I did this by conducting GPS mapping in and around the communities and archaeological sites of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos, including natura l and human-modified landscape features, modern homes and structures, and current infrastructure. In addition to the site-specific GPS data collected, I coalesced ex isting lines of evidence into a GIS. The first part of this chapter reviews existing evidence for quebrada communities. I then describe newly collected spatial data and the result s of analysis using a GIS approach. Data representations known as synthetic streams are often used in conservation and watershed research in areas with in sufficient field data and where hydrologic modeling is useful (Davies et al. 2007). Davies et al. (2007) describe a high degree of accuracy when synthetic stream networks are derived from a DEM. The authors assessed their method against field data in Puget Sound, Washington, USA, and found that their predictive models of stream parameters correlate strongly with m easured values. Using stream line data obtained from the U.S. Ge ological Survey National Center for Earth Resources, it is possible to obs erve the distribution of Class 1 and 2 sites in relation to a representation of the physical stream ne twork in the Palmarejo Valley. This representation is derived from a STRM Le vel 2 (30 m) DEM of the area, which is 69

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currently restricted by th e National Geospatial Inte lligence Agency (Cushing 2007, personal communication; USGS EROS 2007). The derived dataset indicates stream order in a linear network, flow direction, and flow accumulation of DEM cells with an upstream drainage area of greater than 0.18 km 2 (smaller streams and their sources are not be represented). For Honduras, many segments of the Palmarejo Valley stream derivative correspond with quebrada courses that were us ed to first hypothesi ze the existence of quebrada communities. Additionally, GPS survey data I collected during the 2007 field season on the Palmarejo and Palos Blancos quebr adas exhibit a high degree of correlation with the USGS stream derivative. These obser vations suggest that the synthetic stream network is a useful and relatively accurate representation of valley-wide hydrology in the absence of actual field data. Finally, it is important to note that the stream derivative dataset is not a perfect represen tation of water resources in the past and that the location, extent, and flow rate of quebradas in valle y have most likely changed due to weather events and other natural and anthropogenic processes. Hurr icanes, such as Mitch in 1998, and intentional farming practi ces shape and reshape the land scape. However, the success experienced by Davies et al (2007) coupled with presen t variables, such as the distribution of prehispanic sites in the Palmarejo Valley, suggest that the stream derivative dataset is a reliable, if approximate, proxy for the Valleys water resources through time. 70

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Spatial Relationships at the Valley Level The synthetic stream data that were de rived from a STRM Level 2 (30 m) DEM of Honduras includes a hierarchical ranki ng of segments based on flow accumulation. This was accomplished using the STREAMLINK and STREAMORDER functions in GIS software which resulted in each branch in the linear network being assigned a numeric value from one to three. The greater the value the greater the flow of water downstream. Therefore, branches with a value represent those that are fed by runoff sources and thus have the l east amount of flow, while branches with a value of represent the greatest flow accu mulation (Figure 5.1). These attributes can be analyzed in a GIS in order to suggest ways in which Cla ss 1 and 2 sites in the Palmarejo Valley were strategically located relative to different ca tegories of water resources. With the exception of Pacayal in the north, each community capital is located closer to a first-order branch than a secondor third-order branch. In other words, the sites of Palmarejo, Palos Blancos, El Morro, and Suyapa are each lo cated within approximately 400 meters of a first-order branch. Although physically closer to a second-order branch, Pacayal is the only capital located east of a ll other inhabited sites in th e community. This may not be significant given that a Class 5 field house is the only site located east of Palos Blancos. However, it is important to note that due to heavy vegetation Pacayal has not been well surveyed and thus all sites may not be documented. 71

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Suyapa Pacayal El Morro Palmarejo Palos Blancos 012 0.5 Kilometers Figure 5.1. A map showing Class 1 and 2 sites as well as the hierarchical ranking of streams that pass through the Palmarejo Valley. Heavier lines represent increased flow as accumulation increases. 72

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Spatial Relationships within Communities In an effort to offer updated geographic information for my evaluation of quebrada communities, I identified three primary stream subsystem networks (denoted SN1, SN2, and SN3) that have their origins in the eastern and southern hills of the valley and that extend beyond the western mountain pa sses independently of each other (Figure 5.2). The first subsystem (SN1) has seven drainage sources in the northern and eastern hills of the Palmarejo Valley. Three of these meet to form the quebrada that passes through most of the Pacayal community. A single drainage source is the eastern hills contributes to the main quebrada passing th rough the Palmarejo site and community. The second subsystem (SN2) has four drainage sour ces in the eastern hills and a single source located within the boundaries of the valley. All of the s ites in the Palos Blancos community are associated with these five sources. The subsystem exits the valley through a western pass. The third subsystem I identified is the largest that flows within the valley (SN3). Twenty-three individua l drainage sources contribut e to this network, which extends as much as 9.5 km south of the Cla ss 2 site of Suyapa. The following sections describe the quebrada communities proposed by Davis-Salazar and Wells (2007) in relation to the synthetic str eam dataset and the three subsystems that flow through it. 73

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012 0.5 Kilometers Subsystem 1 (SN1) Subsystem 2 (SN2) Subsystem 3 (SN3) Figure 5.2. A map of the Palmarejo Valley (circled in black) over which are highlighted the three synthetic stream derivative subsystems. 74

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Late Classic (AD 650-900) Palmarejo and Palos Blancos In addition to the main site, the Palmarejo community is comprised of two Class 3 sites, 13 Class 4 sites, and 13 Class 5 sites (F igure 5.3). The sites are distributed along an approximately 3 km stretch of the main quebr ada. Based on synthetic stream network, the quebrada branch that passes through Palmarejo has a single drainage source in the eastern hills of the valley. It exits through a western pass located to the northwest of the site where it then converges with the other bran ch of SN1. Figure 5.4 shows a segment of the Palmarejo Quebrada. " ! ! " " " !!" ! !!! " # Palmarejo 0200400 100 MetersClass 1#Class 2!Class 3!Class 4"Class 5 # USGS Stream Derivative Figure 5.3. A map of the Palmarejo archaeol ogical community and its associated quebrada as represented by a synthetic stream derivative. 75

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Figure 5.4. A segment of the Palmarejo quebrada just before it enters a zacate field. In addition to the main site, the Palos Bl ancos community is made up of two Class 3 sites, 15 Class 4 sites, and six Class 5 sites (Figure 5.5). Thes e sites are spatially associated with all five sources of SN2, incl uding one where the main drainage source is not located in the eastern hills, but rather in the approximate center of the valley floor. The synthetic stream data suggest that the qu ebrada that passes directly north of the 76

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archaeological site of Palos Blancos moves northeast before turni ng directly east and reaching its drainage source in the eastern hill s. The distribution of the communitys sites extends the width of the valley, and the quebr ada system exits through a western pass just over 2 m northwest of Palos Blancos. Figur e 5.6 shows a segment of the Palos Blancos quebrada. !!" ! !!#! ! ! " !Palos Blancos 0200400 100 Meters # Class 1#Class 2!Class 3!Class 4"Class 5 USGS Stream Derivative Figure 5.5. A map of the Palos Blancos arch aeological community and its associated quebrada as represented by a synthetic stream derivative. 77

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Figure 5.6. Runoff that contributes to the Palos Blancos quebrada system has cut this deep trench into the landscape. Late Classic (AD 650-900) Pacayal, El Morro, and Suyapa Stream Network 1 appears to have at leas t seven drainage sources in the eastern foothills, with three of these contributing to the main quebrada of Pacayal in the north (Figure 5.7). The subsystem exits though a western pass and converges with the Palmarejo branch outside of the valley. Geographically, Pacayal is the easternmost archaeological site within its community. Class 4 sites and five Class 5 sites extend 78

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westward along the main quebrada. The Pacay al community is one of only two in the valley that lacks a Class 3 archaeological site (the other being Suyapa, the southernmost community). One of the Class 4 sites, Site 40, is located approximately 1.4 km west of Pacayal, the furthest of any s ite in the community and unique in its location away from the main quebrada. #" " ! ! ! !Pacayal 0125250 62.5 Meters # Class 1#Class 2!Class 3!Class 4"Class 5 USGS Stream Derivative Figure 5.7. A map of the Pacayal archaeol ogical community and its associated quebrada as represented by a synthetic stream derivative. 79

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The community of El Morro contains one Class 3 site, 10 Class 4 sites, and two Class 5 sites in addition to El Morro itself (Figure 5.8). The distribution of sites in relation to the synthetic stream network is unique for the vall ey in that the community is split between two drainage systems. Nine sites are located along the southernmost branch of SN2 while El Morro and the remaining 4 sites are located al ong a branch of SN3. Hawken (2007:67) notes that El Morro is located along th e longest quebrada in the valley, although the stream deri vative suggests otherwise. The community of which El Morro is the capital is indeed partly distri buted along the longest quebrada, which courses approximately 4.5 km within the foothills of the valley. ! !#!! ! ! !El Morro 0175350 87.5 Meters # Class 1#Class 2!Class 3!Class 4"Class 5 USGS Stream Derivative Figure 5.8. A map of the El Morro archae ological community and its associated quebrada as represented by a synthetic stream derivative. 80

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The community of Suyapa is completely contained within the branches of SN3, the largest subsystem in the va lley with drainage sources up to 9.5 km south of the main site (Figure 5.9). Eight Class 4 sites and three Class 5 site are irregularly distributed among the stream system, which has five drainage sources and exits through the southernmost pass on the western side of the valley. Furthermore, the Suyapa quebrada is the largest within th e valley and flows year-round, provi ding a constant source of water for both domestic and agricultural purposes (Figure 5.10). !#! ! ! ! "Suyapa 0150300 75 Meters # Class 1#Class 2!Class 3!Class 4"Class 5 USGS Stream Derivative Figure 5.9. A map of the Suyapa archaeol ogical community and its associated quebrada as represented by a synthetic stream derivative. 81

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Figure 5.10. A segment of Quebrada Gra nde, which flows year-round through the community of Suyapa. Modern Communities and Infrastructure in Palmarejo and Palos Blancos For the community mapping portion of my project, I conducted GPS mapping in the two modern communities of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. These two communities were chosen because of the archaeological sites associated with each. All modern houses and structures in each community were ma pped. A minimum of three GPS locations were taken on each utilized structure (and in certain cases abandoned or destroyed structures as well). I also mapped the majority of the ne twork of dirt roads that run throughout the valley. Water-related features can be observed in and around the modern communities as well. These include water tanks, concre te or stone retention ponds called presas water 82

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pumps, natural springs that are artificially maintained, a nd a network of PVC piping and other modifications that divert wate r to individual homes and kitchens. Palmarejo In the community of Palmarejo I used s ub-meter accurate GPS to locate and map a total of 73 individual stru ctures that are used for either living, sleeping, cooking, storage, or selling small goods and services to the local community (the latter type of structure is known locally as a pulperia ) (Figure 5.11). Non-reside ntial structures mapped include one church and two school buildi ngs. Depending on construction method, terrain, and other factors, living quarters and kitchens were either found to be the same structure, partially connected (e.g. an open kitchen just o ff the main house but with a shared roof), or completely separate. Figures 5.12-5.14 show examples of each type of construction mapped using sub-meter GPS. 83

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0200400 100 MetersPalmarejo Community Water Tank Presa Presa Artificial Reservoir Abandoned Water Pump Spring Spring Figure 5.11. Map of the modern community of Palmarejo (pink structures) and the nearby archaeological site (yellow structures) along with select water features. 84

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Figure 5.12. An example of a house in the community of Palmarejo with an attached open-air kitchen. Figure 5.13. An example of a house in the community of Palmarejo with a separate, enclosed kitchen structure. Zaida Darley is seen to the left mapping the structure with the GPS unit. 85

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Figure 5.14. One of the two school build ings in the community of Palmarejo. Water features on the Palmarejo landscape suggest that much time and effort is spent in maintaining water resources for everyday use and agricultural uses. Because the quebradas are a seasonal resource flowi ng only during heavy rains, a variety of techniques are employed to store water and take advantage of alternat ive sources. A large water tank located approximately 600 m north of the nearest utilized home in Palmarejo provides a reliable source of water for multiple purposes, including activities related to agriculture (Figure 5.15). Closer to the actua l community, I observed several natural and cultural water features located on and near the quebrada segment that I mapped. In the eastern hills of the valley, while following a quebrada course, I encount ered an artificial reservoir that had formed when a landowner c onstructed a stone dam that slowed the flow 86

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of runoff water from the higher elevati ons (Figure 5.16). Although well constructed initially, the wall appeared to have fallen in to disrepair and thick overgrowth and barbed wire prevented assessing the full extent of the construction (Figure 5.17). However, it appeared that it was still serving its purpos e and at least two local residents (not the landowner) confirmed that the lagoon was used in part as a source of drinking water for cattle. Figure 5.15. The large Palmarejo water ta nk located approximately 600 meters north of the edge of the community. Shown (R to L) is Zaida Darley, Jose Moreno, the author, Marcos Villanueva, and Lito. 87

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Figure 5.16. This artificial reservoir, fo rmed by damming, is located at a high elevation relative to the community of Palmarejo. Figure 5.17. The constructed dam that is used to slow the flow of water runoff and thus form a check dam. 88

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West of the reservoir and at a lower elevation I encount ered and used GPS to map two presas Presas are essentially concrete water holdi ng structures designed to slow the natural flow of water and are located either at natural spring sources or in high elevations where quebrada flow is strongest (Hawken 2007:26). One of the mapped presas is constructed of large stones around a natural spring, effectiv ely trapping the water so its flow can be controlled (Fi gure 5.18). Another type of presa is concrete and designed to trap quebrada runoff from higher elevations, although I also encounter ed concrete presas that were spring-fed (Figure 5.19). Some of the concrete co nstructions had a PVC valve in the bottom of the constructi on that could be opened and closed depending on the need for water. Figure 5.18. A presa constructed of large stones is shown here retaining natural spring water for daily use. 89

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Figure 5.19. A presa constructed of concrete. On the opposite side of the community and archaeological site of Palmarejo, I used GPS to map three water features. One is a water pump that was not in use at the time and described to me as abandoned. This was located along the main quebrada course and was originally designed to procure water from this source. The two other water features are artificially maintained natural springs th at represent alternative sources to quebrada runoff (Figure 5.20). As with some of the presas in the eastern hills of the valley, these natural springs offer a more reliable and stea dy alternative to runoff, although the amount of water that the springs provi de is comparatively less. Different levels of care are taken to maintain the spring and the area surr ounding it. One spring c ontained evidence of moderate to heavy usage. A large piece of plywood had been placed directly in front of 90

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the source to allow residents to collect water without having to step directly in the muddy area immediately su rrounding the spring. Figure 5.20. This artificially maintain ed natural spring source provides an alternative to quebrada runoff. 91

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Another way that water from the springs and presas is delivered to individual homes and agricultural locations is thr ough a network of PVC piping that relies on gravity to move the water (Figure 5.21). Exampl es of these can be seen near the natural and artificial water sources and exist in vary ing degrees of complexity and frequency of use. I was unable to assess the full scope of the PVC pipe network although it appeared to be informal and implemented on an as-needed basis and as permission from land owners allows. Figure 5.21. An example of the network of PVC piping that delivers water to the community at lower elevations. 92

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Palos Blancos The modern community of Palos Blancos is considerably smaller than Palmarejo both in terms of number of living structures and spatial extent of the community as a whole. I used GPS to map a total of 25 modern structures, which include living and sleeping quarters, animal pe ns, storage shelters, and pulperias (Figure 5.22). Nonresidential structures mapped included two school buildings. The impassable mountains to the north and east of the community create a unique situation in terms of quebrada runoff and the procurement of water for domes tic and agricultural use. Based on informal conversations I had with community resident s, the immediate Palos Blancos environment is highly susceptible to the a dverse effects of natural weathe r events. It is important to note here that the location of Pa los Blancos directly at the ba se of very steep valley walls differs from Palmarejo, which is located furthe r west and not restrict ed spatially in the same manner as Palos Blancos. 93

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Figure 5.22. Map of the modern community of Palos Blancos (pink structures) and the nearby archaeological site (yellow structures). 050100 25 MetersWater Tank 94

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Besides the quebrada segment directly north of the community, I was only able to map one water feature using the GPS unit. Th is is a large water tank located at the northeast tip of the community at the dead e nd of the main road that runs through the community (Figure 5.23). The wate r tank initially app eared to be in di srepair but, from what I could gather, was still operational a nd utilized by the local residents. Although I was not able to map it with the GPS unit due to interference from dense canopy cover, I encountered another substantia l water tank less than 500 m away from the edge of the community (Figure 5.24). Figure 5.23. The large water tank locate d at the head of the Palos Blancos community. 95

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Figure 5.24. A water tank located at a higher elevation above Palos Blancos. Comparing Ancient and Modern Communities GPS survey data collected during the 2007 offers a relatively high resolution view of quebrada communities not previously considered. These data consist of the location and extent of the archaeological sites and th eir structures as they exist today and the location and extent of quebrada segments that pass though or near th e archaeological site. The main group of Palmarejo (Site 80) consists of four monumental structures situated around a rectangular plaza in the southwes t zone of the site (Figure 5.25). Novotny (2007) describes the structures on the northern and southern ends of the plaza as serving a ritual purpose while the broade r, rectangular structures on th e east and west ends of the plaza are interpreted as administrative buildings presumably utilized by the sites elites. 96

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050100 25 Meters Main Group Elite Residential Archaeological Structures Quebrada Northwest Group Northeast GroupSouth PlazaB a l l c o u r tSite 80 (Palmarejo) Site 80 (Palmarejo) Figure 5.25. Map indicating the location of the Main Group, the elite residential compound, and the possible artificially diverted quebrada at Palmarejo. Hawken (2007:62) observes that the quebr ada passing through the site may have been intentional due to its course directly through the middle of the most important area of the site. GPS mapping reveals approximate ly how the quebrada flows through the site today and may suggest that at least one segment of the quebrada was indeed intentionally diverted to pass between the civic-ceremonial center and the elite residential compound. The synthetic stream network indicates that th e main quebrada approaches the site from a single drainage source approximately 1 km eas t of the main group. Just before it reaches Palmarejo, the quebrada turns south and passe s to the south of all mapped structures, including those of civicceremonial center and the elite residential compound. The 97

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segment of the quebrada that was mapped usi ng GPS offers a higher resolution picture of the how the quebrada is associated spatia lly with Palmarejo and serves as a groundtruthing check against the courser stream derivative data. I was able to locate and document the segment of the quebrada that Hawken (2007:62) suggests may be an intentional diversion. As Figure 5.25 illustrates, this segment does indeed pass directly between two of the most importa nt areas of the site without little interference from any of the flanking structures. Excavations at the site of Palos Bl ancos were conducted during the 2005 and 2006 field seasons (Davis-Salazar et al. 2005; Wells et al. 2006) In 2005, four test pits were opened in patio spaces in order to asse ss the occupational history and possible usage of the site. Operation 58/58C was a 1 m x1 m unit that was excavated to a depth of 3.7 m beneath the ground surface wher e cultural material was st ill being recovered. Based on excavations and ceramic analysis, Palos Blancos appears to be one of the oldest occupied sites in the valley, with cultural materials ha ving been recovered more than 3 m below the ground surface (Hawken 2007:66). The quebrada segment that I mapped using the sub-meter GPS unit runs directly north of the main ruins (Figure 5.26). The ar chaeological site and modern community of Palos Blancos is situated within a V-shaped pr ojection into the eastern hills of the valley. The elevation increases rapidly to the north and east of the community, effectively isolating Palos Blancos in these directions. Additionally, the vicin ity of Palos Blancos possesses a considerably higher degree of overhead canopy than Palmarejo, creating poor conditions for GPS mapping. For these reasons I was unable to receive a usable GPS 98

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signal in some parts of the ar ea. I was, however, able to wa lk the course of the quebrada much farther in a northeasterly direction than the map indicates. 03060 15 Meters Archaeological Structures Quebrada Site 58 (Palos Blancos) Site 58 (Palos Blancos)West Group East Group Figure 5.26. Detail of the East and West grou ps of Site 58 (Palos Blancos) and the associated quebrada. 99

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Soil productivity for the valley has been asse ssed elsewhere as well as the ways in which it may have contributed to the economic and political influence of the largest sites (Davis-Salazar and Wells 2007; Verdaasdonk 2007; Verdaasdonk and Wells 2006). Soil productivity has been shown to influence settlement size and dens ity, with populations typically settling as close to fertile land as possible (Killi on 1992). Clay and pH values were chosen for this portion of the analysis because they are representative of productivity in general and can potentially show which areas of a region are most suitable for agriculture. Wells et al. (2007) note that th e indirect effects of pH on plant growth are substantial due to concentrations of many plant macronutrients being dependent on this variable. Soil composition is important for determining how well the soil stores plant nutrients and retains water. Certain levels of clay are ideal because it retains water and nutrients important for plant gr owth. Initial observations ma de during previous analysis indicate that the Palmarejo and Pacayal co mmunities are located near the most productive lands in terms of pH. The northern part of th e valley has the highest clay concentrations, indicating that the communities in this area experienced better water and plant nutrient retention. The dataset used for this portion of the analysis consists of 65 soil samples taken throughout the Palmarejo Valley and includes values for pH, sand, silt, clay, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium (Table 5.1). The values fo r pH and clay content of the samples are represented in Figure s 5.27 and 5.28, respectively, using graduated symbols whereby the larger the circle, the higher the content of each variable. This enables a preliminary visual assessment of the sample areas where pH and clay concentrations are highest. 100

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Table 5.1. Soil Data SiteNorthin g Eastin g pH*Sand*Silt*Cla y *P**N**K** 115.354-88.1116.5060.006.6733.337.005.0010.00 515.352-88.1116.5053.333.3343.332.003.001.00 515.352-88.1117.5026.676.6766.671.002.001.00 915.348-88.1218.0053.333.3343.331.001.001.00 1015.353-88.1227.5046.676.6746.671.004.0012.00 1215.352-88.1167.5040.0020.0040.002.004.009.00 1315.353-88.1188.0046.676.6746.673.003.009.00 1915.346-88.1167.0040.006.6753.337.005.0012.00 2115.342-88.1236.0066.676.6726.671.005.009.00 2215.342-88.1256.5066.673.3330.007.005.0012.00 2315.345-88.1157.5060.006.6733.332.002.001.00 2715.360-88.1306.5053.3313.3333.335.005.0012.00 3115.358-88.1176.5053.333.3343.332.005.001.00 3315.363-88.1187.0033.3320.0046.676.004.009.00 3515.365-88.1186.0053.3323.3323.332.005.0012.00 3815.367-88.1207.5046.676.6746.672.004.0012.00 4015.368-88.1256.5040.003.3356.671.005.0012.00 4315.366-88.1167.0040.0020.0040.007.005.0012.00 4715.336-88.1146.5053.3326.6720.002.003.009.00 5015.338-88.1086.5060.0020.0020.004.004.009.00 5115.339-88.1147.0073.3313.3313.337.005.0012.00 5215.335-88.1115.5046.6746.676.673.005.0012.00 5415.334-88.1096.5066.676.6726.674.005.001.00 5615.330-88.1086.0053.336.6740.007.005.0012.00 5715.346-88.1147.0060.0010.0030.002.004.006.00 5815.339-88.1075.5040.0016.6743.331.005.001.00 5915.330-88.1106.0053.3310.0036.674.005.006.00 6015.331-88.1105.5066.6710.0023.331.005.001.00 6115.326-88.1166.0060.0013.3326.676.005.0011.00 6215.325-88.1156.0046.6716.6736.676.005.004.00 6315.314-88.1316.0060.0020.0020.001.004.001.00 6415.316-88.1166.5046.6726.6726.677.005.0012.00 6515.321-88.1146.0040.0020.0040.001.004.006.00 6715.312-88.1226.5040.006.6753.331.005.007.00 6915.301-88.1286.0033.3320.0046.671.004.006.00 7015.300-88.1276.0053.3320.0026.671.005.004.00 7115.298-88.1326.5046.6713.3340.006.004.009.00 7315.305-88.1346.5046.6713.3340.002.005.009.00 7415.303-88.1306.0060.003.3336.671.005.004.00 7615.313-88.1327.0066.678.6724.677.003.009.00 7615.313-88.1326.0033.3313.3353.334.005.008.00 8015.355-88.1157.0060.0013.3326.673.003.003.00 8015.355-88.1177.0066.676.6726.672.005.004.00 8015.355-88.1166.5053.3310.0036.672.004.004.00 8015.353-88.1177.5053.3333.3313.336.005.009.00 8015.353-88.1167.0066.6710.0023.336.005.007.00 8015.353-88.1167.5066.6713.3320.003.004.002.00 8015.354-88.1177.5060.0010.0030.007.004.004.00 8015.353-88.1167.5066.6713.3320.004.003.009.00 8015.354-88.1156.5073.336.6720.006.005.009.00 8015.354-88.1157.0066.6716.6716.677.005.008.00 8115.315-88.1316.5040.0013.3346.675.005.008.00 8215.317-88.1216.0046.676.6746.677.005.009.00 8315.323-88.1256.0046.6710.0043.331.005.006.00 8415.324-88.1195.5053.3313.3333.331.005.001.00 8615.327-88.1246.5040.006.6753.331.004.007.00 8715.329-88.1276.0053.333.3343.331.005.004.00 8815.329-88.1206.5066.6710.0023.334.004.0012.00 8915.331-88.1226.5060.0016.6723.335.005.0012.00 9015.335-88.1256.0033.3313.3353.332.004.006.00 9115.337-88.1276.0060.0010.0030.001.005.006.00 9215.342-88.1206.5066.6710.0023.332.003.001.00 9415.341-88.1176.5066.6713.3320.006.005.0012.00 9515.339-88.1266.0053.3313.3333.337.005.0012.00 9615.325-88.1176.0040.0030.0030.001.005.005.00 *percent **lbs./acre 101

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Suyapa Pacayal El Morro Palmarejo Palos Blancos 00.51 0.25 Kilometers Soil datapH 5.50 5.51 6.00 6.01 6.50 6.51 7.00 7.01 8.00 Class 1 and 2 Sites Figure 5.27. Map of the Palmarejo Valley showing the locations of soil samples used for the present analysis. pH content (%) is represented with graduated symbols. 102

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Suyapa Pacayal El Morro Palmarejo Palos Blancos 00.51 0.25 Kilometers Soil dataClay 6.67 16.67 16.68 26.67 26.68 36.67 36.68 46.67 46.68 66.67 Class 1 and 2 Sites Figure 5.28. Map of the Palmarejo Valley showing the locations of soil samples used for the present analysis. Clay content (%) is represented with graduated symbols. 103

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In order to further explore the spatial char acteristics of soil quality in the valley I performed a geostatistical analysis in ArcMap using existing soil data and new GPS locational data. This was done using the Geostatistical Wizard tool in ArcMap, a four step process that enables the user to analyze, interpolate and model spatial data using one of several types of kriging. Kriging is a method of in terpolating unknown values based on known values based on the assumption that regi ons close together are more similar than regions farther apart (Wells et al. 2007). The specific method used here, ordinary kriging, is considered a reliable method of surface interpolation and is widely used by researchers incorporating spatial data in a GIS (Entwistle 2007 ; Liao et al. 2006). The first step of the process in ArcMap is to examine the data and its properties. Both the pH and clay values exhibited somewhat normal distributions so a log 10 transformation was not necessary. The second step is to visually fit a theoretical model to an experimental semivariogram with the goal of achieving the least amount of variation in the predicted results. Liao et al. (2006:1374-1375) note three reliable cross validation parameters that ArcMap produces that can be used to assess the validity of the model: the average of predicti on error (PE), the average of standardized prediction error (SPE), and the root mean square standard ized (RMSS). The authors state that the expectations for a good-fitti ng kriging model are an aver age PE and SPE near 0, an RMS near 1, and a small SE (Liao et al. 2006:1375). In the case of the pH values, I chose to apply a K-Bessel model with an automatically-generated nugget effect (Figur e 5.29). I accepted the automated searching neighborhood and proceeded to th e cross validation step. For th e interpolated pH surface, the cross validation parameters were acceptable with a PE of 0.01, a SPE of 0.47, and a 104

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RMSS of 0.94. The RMSS indicates an overest imation of the variance. For the clay values, I applied an Exponential model with automatically-generated nugget effects, accepted the automated searching neighborhood, and proceeded to the cross validation procedure. Based on the parameters, I am not as confident in the validity of these results as I am with those of the interpolated pH surface, although the RMSS (0.97) suggests that the variance was overestimated. The clay su rface produced a PE of -0.20, a SPE of 12.72. Figure 5.29 Semivariogram models (purple line) applied to the pH (K-Bessel, top) and clay (Exponential, bottom) va lues of the soil samples. 105

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As expected, the results of the automate d kriging process performed in ArcMap yielded similar results to those obtained during previous analysis for each of the parameters measured (pH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and soil composition) (Wells et al. 2007). Next, I placed spatial data ma pped using GPS, which includes the quebradas of each community, the archaeological sites, and modern structures and water features, over the interpolated pH and clay data. Figures 5.30 and 5.31 show the archaeological site and modern community of Palmarejo a nd the quebrada segment that runs through it in relation to the interpolated soil data. Fi gures 5.32 and 5.33 illustrate the archaeological site and modern community of Palos Blan cos, its mapped quebrada segment, and the interpolated soil data. 01 2 52 5 0 62.5 Meters Modern Homes Archaeological Structures QuebradaOrdinary Kriging pH Values (%) 5.5 5.8 5.8 6.0 6.0 6.3 6.3 6.5 6.5 6.8 6.8 7.0 7.0 7.3 7.3 7.5 7.5 7.8 7.8 8.0 Figure 5.30. Map indicating the location of cu ltural and natural features relative to interpolated pH levels for the community of Palmarejo. 106

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0 125250 62.5 Meters Modern Homes Archaeological Structures QuebradaOrdinary Kriging Clay Values (%) 6.7 16 16 22 22 26 26 29 29 31 31 34 34 38 38 44 44 53 53 67 Figure 5.31. Map indicating the location of cultural and natural features relative to interpolated clay content for the community of Palmarejo. 060120 30 Meters Modern Homes Archaeological StructuresOrdinary Kriging pH Values (%) 5.5 5.8 5.8 6.0 6.0 6.3 6.3 6.5 6.5 6.8 6.8 7.0 7.0 7.3 7.3 7.5 7.5 7.8 7.8 8.0 Figure 5.32. Map indicating the location of cultural and natural features relative to interpolated pH levels for the community of Palos Blancos. 107

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060120 30 Meters Modern Homes Archaeological StructuresOrdinary Kriging Clay Values (%) 6.7 16 16 22 22 26 26 29 29 31 31 34 34 38 38 44 44 53 53 67 Figure 5.33. Map indicating the location of cultural and natural features relative to interpolated clay content for the community of Palos Blancos. Summary Quebrada communities may have been one way in which ancient populations in the Late Classic (AD 650-900) Palmarejo Valle y organized themselves on the landscape. Evaluating the utility of the concept is im portant for understanding the history of the Palmarejo Valley both in terms of material remains and how humans interacted with natural water resources. Previous analysis has suggested that the hierarchical arrangement of archaeological sites may have been influe nced in part by the location of seasonal quebradas that flow within the valley (Dav is-Salazar and Wells 2007). Cluster analysis and rank-size analysis indicate the degree to which sites were spatially grouped and the level of socioeconomic integration between th em. Soil quality analysis suggests that the largest sites in the valley, including Palmarej o, were strategically lo cated based in part on the ability of the land to produce food. 108

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By integrating the results of the analyses described above with completely new datasets, it is possible to ge t a fuller picture of ancient a nd modern settlement. The USGS National Center for Earth Resources has ma de available a network of streams in Honduras based on a digital elevation model of the country. In the absence of actual hydrological field data, this s ynthetic stream network is an accurate representation of actual streams and their drainage sources. A dditionally, the hierarch ical ranking of these streams show where and how water flows thr ough the Palmarejo Vall ey. These data show that there are three separate stream subsystems that flow through the valley, and further support the notion that th e largest sites were strategically located. Mobile GIS mapping of two modern communities, their water infrastructure, and the archaeological sites associated with ea ch add a temporal component to spatial analysis. By comparing aspects of the ancient and modern communities and archaeological sites, it is possible to draw connections between the ways in which populations interact and exist within a sim ilar environment. The modern community of Palmarejo exhibits a diverse and wide di stribution of human-made water features, including pumps, retention ponds, presas, ar tificially maintained natural springs, and delivery mechanisms. Quite differently, the considerably smaller community of Palos Blancos makes use of a smaller area of land and fewer community water features, although they seem to be more susceptible to natural weather events including hurricanes and droughts. Assessing the spatial nature of interpolated soil data, incl uding pH and clay levels, is useful for determining what if any, relationships exist be tween site location and layout and soil productivity. The same can be done with modern-day communities. In the next 109

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chapter, I explain in detail the relationships between these datasets and how each contributes to an understanding of ancien t and modern communities. Archaeological survey methods and community mapping o ffer a unique opportunity to evaluate the utility of the quebrada community concep t in prehistory and in the present. 110

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Chapter 6. Discussion There are several notable characteristics of ancient settlement in the Palmarejo Valley that indicate quebradas may have influenced the development and spatial characteristics of social organization. These characteristics can be used to contribute to our understanding of the concept, quebrad a community and examined within the context of my definition stated in Chapter 2, which identifies the concept as a fluid and dynamic level of social organization. First, quantitative methods including hierar chical cluster analysis and rank-size analysis suggest that all sites in the valley fall into one of five main groups, each with its own Class 1 or 2 site as a capital (Davis -Salazar and Wells 2007). Palmarejo appears to have been the regionally domi nant center in the valley, ex erting the most political and economic influence in the area. Each of the five communities as indicated by the quantitative study has at least one major quebrada system flowing through it and all community capitals are located toward the east ern hills, closest to the quebrada sources. This spatial arrangement suggests that th e largest communities developed where the exploitation and control of water sources would have been most economically and politically useful for powerful individuals a nd groups. This proposed settlement hierarchy addresses the first component of my defin itionthat such an arrangement of sites 111

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suggests an opportunity on the part of elites to exert control over how water resources are utilized and by whom (Hawken 2007; Novotny 2007; Wells et al. 2007). Second, by viewing the distribut ion of Class 1 and 2 sites in relation to a synthetic stream network derived from a digital elevati on model, the role of these water sources is further revealed. Each of the community cap italsPacayal, Palos Bl ancos, El Morro, and Suyapaappear to be distribu ted, in part, based on where the quebrada systems enter the valley. The stream subsystem networks that I identified dominate one of three regions of the valley. To the north, the community and site of Pacayal is situated in relation to one stream subsystem. Just to the south of Pacayal, the regionally dominant site of Palmarejo and its surrounding sites share the same stream subsystem. However, the quebrada segment associated with Palmarejo is one of the longest individual branches that flows through the valley and has a sing le drainage source. This su ggests that the site of Palmarejo had control of this entire stretch and thus c ontrolled the quebrada source for that particular area of the va lley. To the south of Palmarejo, Palos Blancos is the most spatially isolated Class 2 site in the valley, both in terms of distance and the manner in which it is situated directly at the foot of rapidly-ascendi ng mountains to the north and east. The stream subsystem with which Palos Blancos is associated is the most complex that courses within the valley walls and the si tes that constitute its community are widely distributed around it. El Morro and Suyapa in the southern third of the valley are less spatially associated with an individual str eam subsystem. Rather, each of these Class 2 sites and their communities are dispersed wide ly between the third stream subsystem. This network is the most extensive overall, extending almost 10 km to the south of Suyapa into the southern mountains. This fi nding is not surprising given that Quebrada 112

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Grande, which extends through the Suyapa community, flows year-round and provides a constant source of water to its residents. The delineation of stream networks in this manner and their association with major archaeo logical sites in the valley addresses the second component of my definitionthat significant spatial relationships exist between sites and nearby water resources. Defining quebrada communities in terms of their association with the larger hydrology of the Valley presents a fuller picture. Waterscape is a term that has been used to descri be the intersection of social, economic, and ecological forces as they are infl uenced by water (Swyngedouw 1999:444). The waterscape of the Palmarejo Valley can be better understood after a general yet informative picture of the landscape has been attempted, and presenting stream networks at the valley level is a step in that direction. A third characteristic of ancient settlement in the Palmarejo Valley that indicates quebradas influenced social or ganization is the relationship between soil productivity and the location of the largest sites. It has been shown elsewhere that Palmarejo is located adjacent to some of the most productive soils in the valley (Davis-Salazar and Wells 2007; Verdaasdonk 2007; Verdaasdonk and Wells 2006). Research conducted by Verdaasdonk (2007) has identified characteristics of soil fertility that need further testing in order to evaluate the link between agri cultural surplus and political power. These characteristics include soil pH, texture, stru cture, consistency, a nd levels of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. One way of work ing toward evaluati ng the link between agricultural surplus and political power is by further examining the spatial relationships between archaeological sites, soil fertilit y, and water resources. I view two major indicators of fertility, pH and clay content, in relation to Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. 113

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Figure 5.30 shows that at the arch aeological site of Palmarejo, the structures are located just to the east of the highest concentration of pH in the valley. An optimal pH level for the production of maize, a food staple, is between 6.5 and 7.5 percen t. The location of prehispanic elite architecture suggests a de gree of control over these prime agricultural lands. If the appearance of the site on the landsc ape is similar to that in prehistory, then I believe this spatial relationship further supports the notion that the civic-ceremonial center and elite residential compound were situ ated in order to maintain a degree of control over the prime agricultu ral land and the water resources that contributed to that lands fertility (Verdaasdonk 2007). Additionally, the northwest group is spatially distinct from the rest of the site, possibly serving a f unction closely related to agriculture such as overseeing production or distribut ion away from the core of the site. Clay content is viewed in a similar manner and the same type of conclusion can be made. The majority of the civic-ceremonial and elite residential architecture is not located on the land with the highest clay content in the vicinity, but ra ther it borders that area. The site is also spatially associated with an area of low clay concentration, suggesting that this land may have been used for monumental constructi on because it was not as agriculturally productive as other areas. The spatial data suggest that the quebrada that runs through the site of Palmarejo influenced the productivity of the immediate ar ea and thus the location of the site on the landscape. As Figures 5.30 and 5.31 indicate, the quebrada system as mapped using GPS approaches the site from the east from two different branches. Just as those branches begin to converge, both the pH values and clay content in the area begin to increase. 114

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Furthermore, greater concentrations of wa ter were available for food production as a result. A similar situation can be seen at Palos Blancos. Figure 5.26 shows that the east group of the archaeological site is located on land with lo w pH values and thus not optimal for the production of important crops such as maize. Again, this land may have been intentionally chosen for monumental cons truction so as to leav e more fertile soils available for food production. Clay content in th e vicinity of Palos Blancos does not seem to indicate that nutrient and wa ter retention greatly influenced the location of the east and west architecture groups. The east group is located on soil with relatively high clay concentrations, indicating that it would have been more productive for agriculture than areas south of it. The quebrada that approaches the site from the eastern hills runs north of the archaeological structures. Similar to th e situation at Palmarejo, pH values increase as the quebrada courses away from its s ource, carrying more nutrients and providing increased water for agriculture. These fertile lands and the water resources that feed them could have been one way in which prehispanic residents amassed power by way of agricultural surplus production. Verdaasdonk (2007) points out th at a food surplus can lead to the development of political power, which, in tur n, allows for the intensification of both (Verdaasdonk 2007:6). The data presented here support the idea that spatially significant relationships between elite arch itecture and productive lands we re a contributing factor to the five-tier settlement system believed to have been present dur ing the Late Classic period. The social relationships that were the product of the power based on agricultural surplus served as form of self -identification and manifested in elite civic and ceremonial 115

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architecture (see Novotny 2007). As the th ird component of my definition, selfidentification is indicated by wa y of architecture and should be investigated further in the specific context of spatial relationships. Fo r example, future archaeological research could be directed toward identifying what ar chitectural features and characteristics occur where both in space and through time and if su ch relationships are spatially significant. A fourth characteristic that indicates the influence of quebradas on ancient settlement is way in which each site is si tuated relative to the quebrada course. For Palmarejo, I described in Chapter 5 how it appears that one segment may have been intentionally diverted to pass between the civic-ceremonial and elite residential compound. This is because the segment of th e quebrada mapped using GPS clearly shows that one stretch of the quebrada approaches the site from the east, turns south, and converges with another segment after exiting the immediate area of th e structures (Figure 5.25). Due to the fact that this particular segment courses thr ough the site with little to no disruption by the adjacent structures, the Pa lmarejo quebrada may have been intentionally diverted after the site loca tion and layout had been established. There is presently no archaeological evidence of inte ntional diversion beyond this possible spatial relationship, such as the remains of damming or earthen wa lls. Future archaeological research would need to locate and excavate likely locations for artificial damming or diversion features, such as the narrow areas between elite structur es, in order to evalua te this possibility. At the site of Palos Blancos, the influe nce of the quebrada is less evident. The West Group in particular, is clos ely associated with the quebrada in that it is located at a significant bend as it moves from east to west. As a result, the north and west sides of the West Group are bordered by the quebrada. The East Group is located further away from 116

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the quebrada although the map indicates it is positioned on roughly the same latitude as the West Group. Finally, in the context of the ancien t Maya, Scarborough (1998) describes how the ecological underpinnings of ritual are based on the ordi nary, day-to-day actions and routines that humans carry out (Scarbor ough 1998:145). The manifestation of social, economic, and political power in architectural features can seen at th e largest sites in the Palmarejo Valley (Novotny 2007). By appropria ting a resource as basic as water by strategically locating civic and ceremonial architecture (where ritual was performed) near the waters main sources, the elite of Palmar ejo and Palos Blancos were taking advantage of the natural environment in the manner s uggested by Scarborough (1998). It is often difficult to ascertain how and why ancient populations organized themselves in the ways indicated by their architectural remains. Future archaeological research would need to focus on the areas closer on the eastern peri pheries of the major sites where the runoff sources of the quebradas are located. There, researchers may find ev idence of additional water management, including perhaps the remains of artificial dams. One way to explore how ancient communities may have taken advantage of the natural topography and resources of the vall ey is by drawing comparisons between waterrelated activities today and how the natural environment shapes them. Vogt (1969) uses direct historical analogy to describe how ritual among the Zinacantan community in highland Chiapas is influenced by the locati on of water resources and the importance of those rituals to Maya community organiza tion. As Davis-Salazar (2003) points out, the utility of Zinacantan water ritual for understanding the past can be found not in environmental similarities, but rather in the focus on the community, which underscores 117

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the importance of conceptuali zations of the landscape for social organization (DavisSalazar 2003:282). Although water r itual is not discussed here in the same sense, the daily activities associated with water, partic ularly its procurement for household use, is similarly community oriented. The GPS ma pping I conducted in the communities of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos sheds light on the role of quebradas in contemporary community organization by highlighting the influence of the natural environment on water management and access. My definition of quebrada community is based on the notion that such a level of social organization is fluid and dynamic; susceptible to cultural and natural forces yet persistent enough to be a useful archaeological concept for the Palmarejo Valley. Most of the water features that I mappe d in the modern communities of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos relied on gravity in order for those features to deliver water to various parts of the community. In the hills above Palmarejo, the artificial reservoir that formed as a result of damming is telling of the current water situation. The reservoir is located near the main source of the Palmarejo quebrad a, taking advantage of the greatest amount of drainage before it is di stributed through the rest of the quebrada system at lower elevations. This potentially ha s a significant effect on the dist ribution of water in parts of Palmarejo because intentional landscape modi fications in high elevations affect how water is procured in lower elevations. The two presas that I mapped near Palmarejo relied on gravity to collect and control the flow of water from quebrada source s to the community. As water is fed to the artificial stone or concrete retention tanks, a source of wa ter is created that can be controlled by its owner. Such control over a wa ter source is especially important in times 118

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of drought or when additional water resources are needed. When water is needed in the community below it is allowed to drain from the presas A network of PVC piping that delivers water from some of these sources indi cates a desire for reliable and clean water. It is evident that much time and effo rt was put in to constructing both the presas and the pipes that deliver their water to community residents. The large community water tank associated with Palmarejo is also located at a higher elevation in order to utilize gravity as a delivery mechanism. The water tank at Pa los Blancos is located at a higher elevation. Additionally, the Palos Blancos tank is promin ently located at the northeast tip of the community. An additional tank, that due to poor satellite reception in dense canopy coverage I was not able to map, is located farther away at an even greater elevation and takes advantage of the heavy drai nage that occurs in this pa rt of the valley. Finally, two natural springs near Palmarejo showed evid ence of maintenance and moderate usage. While not sufficient for anythi ng greater than house hold usage, these sources serve as an alternative to quebrada runoff, which is seasonal and provi des water only during periods of heavy rain. It is possible to make comparisons both spatially and across time. Comers (2003) cultural site analysis approach as described in Chapter 4 identifies four primary factors that contribute to the human use of an area : environmental parameters, excavation results, traditional use areas, and current infrastructure. The community mapping project I conducted in Palmarejo and Palos Blancos, along with existin g archaeological and environmental data, provide important c ontext for comparing ancient and modern communities and evaluating a concept of quebrada community (see Davis-Salazar and Wells 2007). Applying a concept of traditional use areas as describe d in Comers (2003) 119

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cultural site analysis to the Late Classic Palmarejo Valley involves considering what make the current water-related infrastructure work. I believe that the location of the communities and their associated archaeological s ites are due in part to the fact that water procurement occurred mostly in the eastern hills of the valley. The downhill flow of water from quebrada drainages provided a natu ral means by which to deliver water to the populations at lower elevations. Today, this means constructing holding tanks, large community water tanks, and a piping network at increased elevations so that these features take advantage of the topography. This could have been the case in prehistory, with populations building their communities near the eastern hills where runoff is most concentrated. To evaluate this possibility fu ture archaeological research at these higher elevations would need to reveal water manage ment features not previously considered in the formation and persistence of communities in the valley. Finally, examining ancient settlement in re lation to modern settlement and water infrastructure is a useful means by which to assess the role of archaeological resources in modern communities. Today there are seven small agrarian communities that occupy the same space as archaeological ruins, many ti mes in very close proximity to standing architecture (Wells et al. 2006). These communities live and work in the same geographic area as prehispanic residents under similar envi ronmental circumstances. Davis-Salazar et al. (2007) have identified th ree levels at which these co mmunities are affected by the prehispanic landscape. At the household level, land use patterns influence where families construct their homes, plant crops for local markets and export, and raise cattle. The distribution of prehispanic mounds may serve as obstacles to such daily activities, as evidenced when plots of land are cultivated to the edges of platforms. In such instances 120

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the integrity of the mounds ar e threatened. For example, th e herding paths of cows may pass over mounds, or local residents may pr ocure building materials from the very constructions used in prehistory. Conversely, the distribution of architecture may be advantageous with little harm done to the integrity of the remains. Wells et al. (2006) note how platforms can be used to elevat e scarecrows in order to protect crops. At the community level, the destruction of archaeological remains is often cited by current residents as problematic to lo cal cultural patrimony and heritage (DavisSalazar et al. 2007). Annual surv eys of the resources in the valley are carried out with participation from community members and the assessment of the level of damage to mounds has become an integral part of the research agenda in the Palmarejo Valley (Hawken 2007). This is because of the importa nce of the remains to community identity. In most cases, the prehispanic sites in the va lley are identified by the same name as the associated modern community. In the exampl e of my own research, both archaeologists and local residents refer to the prehispanic Si te 80 and Site 58 as Palmarejo and Palos Blancos, respectively. Also noted by Wells et al. (2006) is the pride on the part of local residents when speaking of their site. I enc ountered the same sentiments during the past two seasons of field research, as residents were typically in terested in our work and the fact that it was occurring literally in thei r back yards. The third level on which the prehispanic landscape is closely integrated wi th modern life involve s national efforts to protect the cultural patrimony of Honduras. The goals Honduran Institute of History and Anthropology are often at odds with the da ily activities and desires of the local population (Wells et al. 2006) and archaeologist s have had to negotiate a balance between 121

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the needs of the community and the importa nce of patrimony and the preservation of cultural resources. As these examples illustrate, the an cient and modern communities in the Palmarejo Valley exist simultaneously. This overlap presents a unique opportunity to study the effects of natural re sources on settlement for two different time periods in northwest Honduras: Late Classic (AD 650900) and modern day. Wells and DavisSalazar (2004) note that an understanding of the sociopolitical dynamics of modern water usage is important for evaluating and explai ning the long-term changes that occurred on the cultural and natural landscapes of th e Palmarejo Valley. The community mapping portion of my project is a step in that dire ction. As previous res earch has demonstrated, the Palmarejo Valley is experiencing the eff ects of globalization a nd urbanization at an alarming rate (Davis-Salazar and Wells 2006). These effects are having an adverse impact on both the sources of water in the valley and how that water is procured for agricultural and household purposes. Although my project is not directly concerned with improving the situation in the Palmarejo Vall ey, I do hope that by investigating quebrada communities in the past, the current resident s may benefit through an awareness of the ways in which contemporary issues can be addressed using archaeology. 122

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Chapter 7. Conclusion An understanding of how ancient communities organized themselves based on water resources requires a contextualized approach that attempts to incorporate multiple lines of evidence into a single, archaeological testable definition that is relevant to the archaeological situation in the Palmarejo Valle y. I have attempted to provide some of this context by presenting archaeological, environm ental, and contemporary datasets in a geographic information system. Specifically, I focused on the archaeological and modern communities of Palmarejo and Palos Blancos. The goals of this thesis are to: 1) frame the present research within the current debate surrounding modeling prehistoric co mmunities, 2) construct a GIS that synthesized existing datasets with new, co mmunity-level spatial data, and 3) examine these datasets using a cultural site analysis approach (Comer 2003) in order to suggest ways in which natural resources influenced human communities. Additionally, by developing my definition of quebrada commun ity in relation to the themes described previously, I was able to approach the situ ation in the Palmarejo Valley prepared to recognize those aspects of the cultural and environmental la ndscapes that contribute to our understanding of ancient social, political and economic organi zation. Cultural site analysis is useful in this respect and proved to be a beneficial framework in which to develop and explore the quebrada community concept. My conclusions lend support 123

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Verdaasdonks (2007) and Verdaasdonk and Wells (2006) idea that agricultural productivity may have been an important in fluencing factor on site distribution and layout. Including spatial data on modern commun ities such as the lo cation of residential structures and water features enabled me to make connections between the Late Classic (AD 650-900) Palmarejo Valley landscape and th at which we see today. I argue that the locations of the largest sites in the valley we re in part determined by their proximity to the sources that feed the quebradas. Havi ng access to and controlling these sources enabled the communities of Pacayal, Palmarejo, Palos Blancos, El Morro, and Suyapa to exploit the quebradas in such a way that their economic and political influence was enhanced. This, along with the desire to be located near the most productive agricultural land, created a situation in which water and land had a significant effect on site distribution and the subsequent hierarchic al arrangement of ancient communities. There is still much research that needs to be carried out in order to further support the conclusions I have reached in this thesis. I believe the evidence suggests that if archaeological investigations sh ift to higher elevations in the valley, particularly in the eastern hills and mountains, much could be re vealed in terms of water management and artificial landscape modificati ons. My data indicate that ancient communities may have taken advantage of gravity and elevation in much the same way as residents do today. Future archaeological research should be directed to later tim e periods, including the historical period. By doing this, researchers wi ll have an even fuller understanding of the temporal component in resource utilizati on and water management by being able to bridge the gap between the Late Classi c and present day Palmarejo Valley. The technologies that populations develop to exploit certain natura l resources, such as land 124

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and water, change over time, but what remain s constant is the need to do so. Historic communities in the Palmarejo Valley may further support the idea that quebrada community is a valid concept for this ar ea. Archaeological research that employs anthropological concepts and methods will greatly facilitate the development of these agendas. Finally, community mapping and community-based archaeological research should be further developed. By involving th e local community in every aspect of archaeological research in the valley, research ers will inevitably gain insight into the dayto-day interactions that o ccur between communities and th e environment. Since 2004, the Proyecto Arqueolgico Comunidad Palmarejo has been a prime example of what applied archaeological research should strive to accomplish. By interacting with the local population in this way, future research w ill not only be successful, but relevant. 125

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