Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Heather Trigg

Second Advisor

Douglas Bolender

Third Advisor

John Steinberg


This thesis uses geographical information systems (GIS) to explore the environmental and social factors that influenced where the early Spanish colonists settled on the New Mexican landscape. This time-period has been under researched by both historians and archaeologists and as a result, little is known about the Spanish colonists who settled in New Mexico. Presently, there are only twelve rural settlements, referred to as estancias, that have been identified through archaeological excavations. Using spatial analyses available in ArcGIS to explore the social and environmental factors will provide a better understanding of the resources that were necessary for the colonists to have access to when selecting a location to settle.


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