This paper investigates directional influences in the distribution of Bronze Age surface pottery in the northern Murghab Delta, Turkmenistan. Drawing upon a continuous dataset of pottery sherd counts obtained by intensive field survey, it examines the degree to which we can make sense of the archaeological processes at work in a heavily obstructed and dynamic landscape. In so doing, it makes use of two analytical methods that have rarely been used in archaeology: a) geostatistical analysis using variograms to investigate directional spatial autocorrelation in recorded sherd counts; and b) angular wavelet analysis in evaluating directional influences in the sherd distributions for particular chronological periods. While some kinds of directional influence can be identified visually, a quantitative approach is particularly useful in deconstructing such patterns. In this particular dataset, distinct but related directional processes can be identified and measured: a) the impact of the complex system of watercourses in the delta on both settlement and post-depositional processes; and b) recovery bias in the observations made during survey.
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