Analyzing Ancient Political Power and Urbanization Patterns

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GIS Level:
  • Beginning
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  • National
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  • Higher Ed

How might visibility be used to map an ancient civilization's political landscape? The Yoruba civilization, one of the oldest known, dates back to 350 BC (Wikipedia). The ancient city of Ife, located in present-day Nigeria, is commonly regarded as the origin of Yoruba civilization, with archaeological evidence of urbanization in AD 500 (Metropolitan Museum of Art 2000). According to Yoruba mythology, the deity Oduduwa established the political structure of Ife by planting a palm nut that grew into a great tree with 16 branches, representing the clans of the early Ife city-state (Wikipedia). These 16 clans were scattered around the perimeter of Ife, and though the clans paid homage to the central palace, each one had its own chief. 

 Keywords: viewsheds, historical re-creation, contours, sight lines, SpatiaLABS

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