Least Cost Analysis of Peopling Events on the Northwest Coast of North America

Author(s): Robert Gustas

Year: 2015


The peopling of the Americas continues to be a relevant issue in contemporary archaeology. Due to the very small number of discovered sites which predate 10,000 years before present, the chronology and method of these migration events are not well understood. Previous research has been unsuccessful in consistently identifying sites from this time period and better models are needed to successfully locate sites in this landscape which has gone through radical change over the last 16,000 years. This project developed a new method of modeling migration using least cost analysis (LCA) of Late Pleistocene maritime travel to determine the area’s most likely to have been traveled through by Paleo-Indian groups. Using multi-criteria analysis, different cost weighting scenarios, and least cost corridors, possible movement routes along the Northwest coast of North America were reconstructed. These areas were ranked by probability of use and analyzed using spatial auto correlation statistics. This project is one of the first to apply LCA to seascapes and marine movement and the results have the potential to lead to a better understanding of the Late Pleistocene through the discovery of new very early sites.

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Cite this Record

Least Cost Analysis of Peopling Events on the Northwest Coast of North America. Robert Gustas. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397432)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;