Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)

Degree Level





Marvin Kay

Committee Member

Kenneth L. Kvamme

Second Committee Member

Jami J. Lockhart


Social sciences, Arkansas, Distributional archaeology, Landscape archaeology, Visual landscape


Pea Ridge National Military Park, in the north east corner of Benton County, Arkansas, is the 4,300 acre site of a crucial Civil War Battle. Human occupation of the Ozark Highland landscape, however, extends far into pre-history. A 2005 report to the National Park Service details the findings of a four year cultural resource survey of the park. The sampling strategy employed in the research design (random sample site selection and 2.5% park coverage) provides an excellent dataset to assess prehistoric land use. This dataset is not dependent on artificially defined sites, representing singular activity in a limited geographical space. Instead it allows for interpretation of patterns of land use; while artifacts may not be spatially or temporally associated, their provenience on the landscape can be assessed in relationship to various landscape elements and environmental variables. Trends in artifact location can be seen with this representative sample distribution.

The 2005 report examines artifact distribution with respect to permanent and intermittent streams. The predictive models produced from the analysis closely relate the availability of water and caloric expenditure required to travel across the landscape to a majority of the prehistoric material at the park. The report also explores seasonal expressions of land use at Pea Ridge. The goal of this project is to explore the relationship between another landscape variable, visibility, and prehistoric locations that do not conform to the models of the original study, those with higher travel costs to water. Economic models like cost-to-water are meaningful interpretations of land use, but I feel that such models preclude other elements of landscape experience. By comparing the distributions of conforming and aberrant prehistoric artifact groups against three different measurements of visibility, I hope to show that landscape perception could be a reliable predictor of prehistoric material in high cost areas.