Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Michael L. Timmons


Michael L. Timmons


Steven R. Simms


Carlos V. Licón


Archaeological sites need a new management and development framework to address the pressures resulting from an increasing interest in archaeological tourism. This new framework needs to address both the imminent threat that increased tourism brings (overuse, crowding and additional wear) to the site as well as the widening range of experiences that tourists expect. Over the last decades, management frameworks have been developed in many fields of tourism to address similar issues. The most widely known of these approaches are the Recreational Opportunity Spectrum (ROS), the Tourism Opportunity Spectrum (TOS) and the Ecotourism Opportunity Spectrum (ECOS). These frameworks provide several classes of opportunities in which tourist may engage and enlist the management guidelines necessary to preserve the integrity of each class. This paper develops a tourism approach to archaeology adapted from these examples.

The new framework herein proposed is named the Archaeological Tourism Opportunity Spectrum (ATOS). This spectrum proposes four separate tourism classes within which different archaeological tourism experiences are offered. Development and management guidelines for each tourism class are created by looking at the outcome of four tourism classes as they are defined by seven archaeological site-based factors. These guidelines will create clear management objectives for each of the four classes. It will also facilitate an opportunity for small regional archaeological sites to be managed as a network providing an increased range of experiences for all tourists.

The application of ATOS is tested by applying the recommendations of this newly proposed framework to five established sites at Hovenweep National Monument. It is predicted that the ATOS will illuminate the opportunity for changes within the existing design, allowing for a wider range of experience opportunities.