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CATEGORY: term; feature
DEFINITION: The resource area of an archaeological site; the geographical area in which the inhabitants of a village or camp obtain resources.
site catchment
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: site territory, catchment area
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: The area surrounding a settlement or camp that is habitually used by the inhabitants as a source of materials for food, toolmaking, and the like. It is defined as the total area from which all the animals, plants and artifacts of which there are remains preserved on the site, are derived. Each group of people living on the site is assumed to have had a 'territory', the area around the site which they habitually exploited.
site catchment analysis
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: SCA; site-catchment analysis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of reconstructing the economy of a site by studying the resources that are available within a reasonable distance, generally 1-2 hours' walking time from the site. The technique was devised by E. Higgs and C. Vita-Finzi for 'the study of the relationship between technology and those natural resources lying within economic range of individual sites', an extension of the least-cost principle. The catchment area is defined by drawing a circle around the site; the radius has often been set at 5 km (i.e. an hour's walk) for agriculturists and 10 km (i.e. two hours' walk) for hunter-gatherers, figures which represent ethnographically observed averages. Within the catchment area the proportions of such resources as arable or pastoral land are calculated, and from these figures conclusions can be drawn concerning the nature and function of the site. The technique offers a valuable and reasonably objective method for analyzing relationships between site location, technology, and available resources. This type of off-site" analysis can concentrate on the total area from which a site's contents have been derived."

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