Least Cost Analysis of Maritime Movement in Prince Rupert Harbour during the Holocene and Late Pleistocene

Author(s): Robert Gustas

Year: 2017


Spatial modeling of prehistoric maritime movement on the Pacific Northwest Coast is important in contemporary archaeology because it can help reveal previously unseen patterns and trends in movement through a landscape that has radically changed over time. GIS analysis has the potential to reveal new sites that have been hidden by changing sea levels. Here we present models of maritime movement using least cost path analysis (LCA) to determine the area’s most likely to have been traveled through by the Tsimishian of Prince Rupert Harbour over the last 15,000 cal. yr BP. Using targeted origin points, high resolution LiDAR and bathymetry, new cost movement metrics, and more accurate sea level curves possible migration routes were derived for the Harbour. For time periods that lie within Prince Rupert Harbour’s archaeological record calculated routes were systematically compared against known site locations to determine their predictive accuracy. Additionally, we provide estimations of where undiscovered sites from latter periods may exist within this environment. This work refines the application of LCA to seascapes and increases our ability to predict the location of submerged sites on the Northwest Coast, which is an important step in furthering our understanding of this area’s human history.

Cite this Record

Least Cost Analysis of Maritime Movement in Prince Rupert Harbour during the Holocene and Late Pleistocene. Robert Gustas. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428943)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.725; max lat: 74.402 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16507