This project takes the Iron Age tumuli of the Kanak Su Basin in Yozgat, Turkey as a case study for the application of geospatial methods to reconstruct past perceptions of a mortuary landscape. The tumulus fields – landscapes heavily modified by monumental burial mounds – of central Anatolia present an opportunity to investigate how burial practices reflect and create places of collective memory, territorial identity, and the social order. Understanding the nature of Iron Age settlement in the Kanak Su Basin remains an ongoing subject of study in central Anatolian archaeology, especially in regard to how the large, short-lived city of Kerkenes interacted with the existing long-term settlement history in the basin. This project seeks to understand the role of the tumuli in this landscape by investigating the relationship between the settlement pattern and the burial mounds along axes of proximity, visibility, and accessibility using spatial statistics, viewsheds, and least cost pathways. The spatial distribution of mounds suggests which sites might have participated in constructing tumuli and the possible motivating factors in their location. Larger sites in the study area appear to have participated more frequently in tumulus construction. This analysis also allows us to reconstruct the more general experience of living among the mounds, whether one participated in the practice or not, and results suggest the tumuli were located to increase the number of people who perceived and interacted with them.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Paulsen, Paige, "The Spatial Distribution of Tumuli in the Iron Age Kanak Su Basin, Turkey" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5899.