Keywords: archaeological sites, GIS modelling, geographical information systems, heritage resource management, impact surfaces, recreational impacts, at-risk heritage resources, recreational activities, archaeological record, risk assessment, camping, hunting, woodcutting
Identifying at-risk heritage resources with GIS: modelling the impact of recreational activities on the archaeological record
Archaeological predictive models were initially developed to determine the probability of encountering certain types of archaeological sites (e.g. masonry ruins or artifact scatters) on a given unit of land. Other than forecasting densities of archaeological site-types by vegetation zones, however, such studies rarely focused on management applications and, consequently, were nearly abandoned. To illustrate the role that GIS can have in assessing and managing modern threats to heritage resources, we explore the usefulness of a predictive model that determines the extent to which off-highway access points affect the likelihood that heritage resources will be impacted by camping, hunting or woodcutting. With high-intensity GPS-based survey data from the Upper Basin, northern Arizona, this study shows how the capabilities of GIS may be extended to assist heritage managers and researchers in their efforts to identify areas where archaeological resources should be protected from various kinds of recreational activities on public lands.