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4.0 Conclusion

The aim of this article was to test the common geographic and ecologically derived spatial analyses and the concept of landscape. The example from Hauraki demonstrated that the history of environmental change and Māori cultural response was consistent with the contextual concept of landscape, and highlighted a series of questionable assumptions in the commonly used spatial analyses.

Firstly, it was observed that Māori were not sedentary, their territories were not exclusive and individuals belonged to more than one polity: settlement patterns of such a dynamic society cannot be interpreted by way of static models such as nearest neighbour and Thiessen polygons. Secondly, the contextual concept of landscape considers it to be an inclusive and dynamic interrelationship between the physical, cultural and historical elements. The Hauraki case study demonstrated that the history of settlement included natural changes and human-induced ones, as well as accommodations by people to the environment and cultural norms. In one instance a similar event – increased wetness – occurred on two occasions some 200 years apart but the responses were very different.

Consequently, dynamic and culturally appropriate tools should be sought to interpret the Māori archaeological record of settlements. It is possible that the relatively new methods of dynamic simulation and modelling using fuzzy logic and neural networks will provide a better platform for interrogating the archaeological record of Aotearoa and, in all probability, many other places and times.

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Last updated: Thur Nov 11 2004