Peopling the past: Interpreting models for pedestrian movement in ancient civic-ceremonial centres

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The study of complex societies, in particular urban spaces such as those of the ancient Maya, can effectively focus on the human interactions and entanglements that animated such locales. Further, many of the concerns related to crowd dispersal, pedestrian traffic patterns, the constitution of community, and socio-spatial control that underlay spatial analyses of modern urban centres were equally valid in past, non-Western, urban centres. From space syntax to agent simulation and crowd modelling, this paper adopts a methodological ‘train of thought’ with origins well outside the archaeological mainstream that may be applied in the creation of explanatory/exploratory models for socio-spatial interaction. Within Maya studies (and indeed, other ancient contexts), these models may be profitably invoked to direct research toward a deeper understanding of how the ancient Maya may have actually lived within the monumental built environments that so strongly define them in both popular and professional consciousness. The unit of analysis in all such approaches is the plano-metric representation of architecture and space. In concert with the other papers presented in this volume, particular attention is focused on the analytical consequences (both opportunities and limitations) of such mapping. The Classic Period centre of Copan, Honduras, has been adopted as a case study.




Morton, S. G., Peuramaki-Brown, M. M., Dawson, P. C., & Seibert, J. D. (2014). Peopling the past: Interpreting models for pedestrian movement in ancient civic-ceremonial centres. In Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography (Vol. 0, pp. 25–44). Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH.

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