Study Methods
Dissertation and all web site contents copyright 2008 Bradley W. Russell
Survey and Mapping

This study was conducted in four distinct phases.  The first phase, survey and mapping of eight
250x1000m transects, was completed in the summer of 2003.  Transects for survey were chosen through
a combination of judgmental and random methods.  Four transects were selected judgmentally based on
proximity to major gates and cenotes, features expected to influence settlement patterning.  One
judgmental transect is located north of the city, one to the south, and two to the east.  Four transects were
selected randomly one each extending north, south, east and west of the city wall.  With one exception,
survey was conducted by teams of four to seven people walking transect lines spaced at 15m intervals.  
The dense ground cover encountered along Transect 4 resulted in significantly reduced visibility.  In this
case, we reduced the line spacing to 7.5m intervals in order to insure adequate coverage of the area.  
Magellan Map 330 GPS units were used to navigate straight lines in the dense overgrowth of the region,
map large scale features such as the dry laid, low, stone walls or albarradas that are common to the
region, and record the location of architectural clusters.  This method allowed my team and me to cover
much more territory than would have been possible if we were physically cutting lines through the
vegetation, as has been common in such work for many years, without reducing the accuracy of the lines
being surveyed.  All architectural clusters encountered were cleared of vegetation and mapped using the
more common tape and compass method.  The location of each of the clusters was recorded using the
Magellan GPS equipment discussed above.  These architectural maps were digitized and combined with
the GPS data using ArcGIS 8.3 software.  In addition to mapping the settlement distribution, we collected
GPS locations for other natural and man-made features such as cenotes, sascaberas, chultuns, and
cave entrances.  Our research produced detailed digitized maps of the architecture and other features
encountered during survey and a large relational GIS database containing information on all features
documented.  Based on this data, I devised a preliminary typology of the structures encountered that
served as the basis for stratifying our sample of test excavations.

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