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Quantifying Trends in Site Location with Multidimensional Scaling

Martin Hall
World Archaeology
Vol. 14, No. 1, Quantitative Methods (Jun., 1982), pp. 131-152
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/124379
Page Count: 22
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Quantifying Trends in Site Location with Multidimensional Scaling
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Abstract

In this paper, I consider some of the problems of quantifying locational trends in archaeology. A review of the methods available reveals that techniques may either be limited to situations where a considerable knowledge of the nature of the site, or a full set of sites across a research area, may be required. Such data are not common in archaeology, where sites are often damaged by post-depositional decay or only partially sampled by fieldwork. Because of these problems, I suggest that cluster analysis can be used to identify and measure trends in locational attributes. For this, multidimensional scaling is an ideal technique, since it does not require metric information as input and produces configurations that are easy to interpret visually. By describing the use of multidimensional scaling in the study of the location of early farming settlements in Zululand, I have been able to demonstrate some of the advantages of this approach, and to suggest some ways in which the method may be improved for future application.

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