GIS and cluster analysis : understanding settlement systems in early Christian Ireland
Using cluster analysis and a geographic information system (GIS), this study attempted to identify a settlement system in the Dingle Peninsula of Early Christian Ireland based on the morphological variability of ringforts. Cluster analysis was used to determine if an intuitive ringfort typological model created by the author had validity. Use of cluster analysis identified three distinct classes of univallate ringfort. Although these clusters have a higher variable mean than anticipated, they do appear to verify partial validity of the author's model. With the exception of Cluster 1, it appears that the assumption that as unvallate ringfort banks increase in elaboration, than so does their internal diameter.ARC/INFO, a GIS was used to help test the hypothesized relationship between ringfort clusters. It was assumed that the univallate ringforts with the smallest banks would be very close to and in the line of sight of bivallate and mulitvallate ringforts. Those with an intermediate bank size would tend to be farther away and not in the line of sight of bivallate and multivallate ringforts. These assumptions were determined to be invalid.