Ideal-Free Distribution and Ancestral Pueblo Occupation of Cedar Mesa, Utah
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Ideal-free distribution (IFD) has been increasingly adopted by archaeologists to address questions about the relationship between settlement distribution, environment, and economy. This behavioral ecology model theorizes that individuals will elect to settle in habitats based on their suitability, with initial occupations occurring in the highest-ranked habitats. The settlement pattern analysis published by Matson, Lipe, and Haase (1988) contributed a basic understanding of the distribution of the many small dispersed sites on the Cedar Mesa area of SE Utah, and of the environmental factors that influenced these settlement behaviors. This project applied an IFD model to Cedar Mesa’s settlement pattern in an effort to further elucidate environmental conditions which may have influenced settlement behaviors.