A total viewshed approach to local visibility in the Chaco World

Katherine A. Dungan, Devin White, Sylviane Déderix, Barbara J. Mills, Kristin Safi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Chacoan great houses and great kivas of the U.S. Southwest are monumental, both in their scale and in conveying meaning. Visibility is key to understanding how and by whom that meaning was experienced. Although often discussed in Chaco studies, visibility has been infrequently tested. Here, the authors consider 430 great house and great kiva locations, and evaluate their visibility within their local landscapes. Using a total viewshed approach, they provide new evidence to suggest that great houses, but not great kivas, were often placed to be highly visible to individuals in the surrounding landscape. These patterns may speak to the social and physical properties of the structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-921
Number of pages17
Issue number364
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Chaco World
  • GIS
  • Monumental architecture
  • Viewshed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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