Least Cost Pathway Analysis Showing Movement Across a Landscape
These side by side charts show the basics of how least cost pathway analysis works in action. A geographic surface, landscape or seascape, is broken into standard size squares (or cells). These cells are then given a value based on an underlying factor in the geographic area, such as the slope of a hill calculated into a cost to climb up it, or the force and direction of a sea current. A model can then look to find a series of cells between a start and end point, finding the series of cells that add up to the ‘least cost’. This path can then be analyzed in terms of how it fits within the landscape it is based on and with the archaeological material that has (or has not) been found along it.
This source is part of the Caribbean Seafaring in the Archaic Age teaching module.