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Keywords:

  • KERNEL DENSITY ESTIMATION;
  • GAUSSIAN;
  • SPATIAL ANALYSIS;
  • RADIOCARBON;
  • CONTEMPORANEITY;
  • MESOLITHIC;
  • IBERIA

Archaeologists are accustomed to considering both the spatial distributions of sites and the temporal distributions of dates as means of analysing the dynamics of prehistoric societies. However, spatial and temporal approaches have thus far remained largely separate, rather than being combined within a single, unified framework. A formal methodology is outlined that combines univariate kernel density estimation based on radiocarbon dates with bivariate kernel density estimation based on spatial site coordinates; the approach allows archaeologists to arrive at reconstructed land-use distributions through time that not only correct for the problematic issue of site contemporaneity, but also reflect the continuous nature of the archaeological record. The model is implemented using as a data set a series of sites from the Mesolithic of Atlantic Iberia; the results demonstrate that it is capable of providing key insights into changing patterns of land use that are not apparent from either the temporal or the spatial perspective alone.