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Least Cost Analysis of Movement Events during the Early Holocene/Late Pleistocene on the Northwest Coast

Author(s): Robert Gustas ; Kisha Supernant ; Andrew Martindale ; Bryn Letham ; Kenneth Ames

Year: 2016

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Spatial modeling of early prehistoric maritime movements on the Pacific Northwest Coast is important in contemporary archaeology as a site prospection tool in a landscape which has radically changed over the last 16,000 years. GIS analysis can model ancient site locations now hidden by changing sea levels. We present findings from a project which developed a new method for modeling maritime movement using least cost path analysis (LCA) of both behavioral and cultural constraints to determine the areas most likely to have been traveled by Paleoamericans between 10,000 and 16,000 cal. yr BP. Using multiple cost weighting scenarios, spatial resolutions, and different considerations of overland travel movement, routes through five areas of Northwest British Columbia and Southeast Alaska were predicted. The resulting movement paths were systemically analyzed and locations with high probabilities of containing new sites identified. Additionally a sub-model was run to test and check the methodology’s predictiveness by comparing travel routes through Prince Rupert Harbour over the last 5,000 years to known site locations. This work is the first to apply LCA to seascapes and marine movement and the results have the potential to lead to a better understanding of Early Holocene and Late Pleistocene travel.

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Least Cost Analysis of Movement Events during the Early Holocene/Late Pleistocene on the Northwest Coast. Robert Gustas, Kisha Supernant, Andrew Martindale, Bryn Letham, Kenneth Ames. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403454)


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America