Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Archaeological Science 41 (January 2014), pp. 365–375; doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.08.006


Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


This paper contributes to the archaeological study of movement in urban environments where built forms and natural features worked together to play a key role in structuring human mobility.We propose an analytical method using least cost analysis in a Geographic Information System (GIS) to empirically measure social integration. The method defines mobility as the potential for pedestrian movement, and identifies locations where people were most likely to walk to or through in a landscape. The calculated mobility data are then employed to identify with whom people were most likely to interact and the degree to which they were socially connected with particular groups of society (social networks), and integrated within society as a whole. The results reveal underlying spatial complexities that in conjunction with other archaeological data can be correlated to social, political, or economic inequality in ancient cities.We apply the method to measure social integration between four socioeconomic groups at the Late Classic (AD 600-900) Maya city of Copán, Honduras.