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Small Buildings and Small Budgets

Making Lidar Work in Northern Yucatan, Mexico

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Scott R. Hutson*
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0024
Barry Kidder
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0024
Céline Lamb
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0024
Daniel Vallejo-Cáliz
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0024
Jacob Welch
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Yale University, 10 Sachem St., New Haven, CT 06511

Abstract

Despite the success of lidar in making ancient features visible in certain tropical environments, researchers often have difficulty using lidar to identify small, low, non-linear features. This study juxtaposes lidar data with data gathered from pedestrian survey along the Ucí-Cansahcab causeway, located in the Northern Maya lowlands, to assess the degree to which the invisibility of small buildings in lidar imagery affects demographic research. The juxtaposition shows that demographic research with lidar can move forward in some cases once pedestrian survey has been used as a baseline to establish correction factors for using lidar data on their own. Another current barrier to the use of lidar is cost. This paper provides examples of the kinds of questions that can be addressed by projects with smaller budgets and, therefore, smaller amounts of lidar coverage. These questions include site size comparisons and the degree to which settlement clustered around ancient features such as the Ucí-Cansahcab causeway.

A pesar de los logros que ha causado el lidar en hacer elementos antiguos visibles en ciertos ambientes tropicales, muchas veces los investigadores usando lidar tienen problemas identificando elementos no-lineares, bajos y pequeños. Este estudio yuxtapone la informacion obtenida por medio de lidar con aquella recuperada por medio de transectos a pie a lo largo de la calzada Uci- Cansahcab, localizada en las tierras bajas Mayas del norte, para poder determinar el grado al cual la incapacidad del lidar para reconocer construcciones pequeñas afecta investigaciones demográficas. Esta yuxtaposición muestra que la investigación demográfica realizada por medio de lidar puede ser avanzada en algunos casos una vez ya que los recorridos a pie hayan sido usados para crear una linea base que establesca factores de corrección para sólo usar información obtenida por medio de lidar. Otra barrera contemporanea para usar lidar es el costo. Este documento provee ejemplos de los tipos de preguntas que pueden ser atendidas por proyectos con pocos fondos y, por lo tanto, con menores cantidades de cobertura por medio de lidar. Estas cuestiones incluyen comparaciones entre tamaños de sitios y el grado de asentamiento a lo largo de elementos antiguos como la calzada Uci-Cansahcab.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2016

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Small Buildings and Small Budgets
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