Least Cost Analyses calculate the time or energy required to cross land/water given the lands slopes and boats’ speed. Using different starting locations (village sites, archeological sites, and resource use sites) Least Cost Analyses produce cost catchments from origins; as well, aggregate least cost catchments can also be produced. In cases where the destination is known least cost paths can also be derived.
Inlailawatash GIS staff helped develop a Least Coast Analysis methodology for Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s traditional territory. The results of this analysis were presented on maps and used to calculate statistics including but not limited to: area of land within a given travel time, water travel time between sites, and percentage of overlap between least cost catchments. This information is also being used to assist with risk assessments, referrals, road building, and legal cases.
This project was presented at the SFU 2015 Archaeology Symposium during the session titled Modelling Marine Oriented Hunter-Gatherer-Fisher Landscape/ Seascape Use and Territory with GIS: Two Coast Salish Examples.
For more information about Least Cost Analysis we recommend the following two sources:
- Modelling mobility and exchange in pre-columbian cuba: gis led approaches to identifying pathways and reconstructing journeys from the archaeological record (academia.edu)
- Least Cost Analysis of Social Landscapes (Archaeological Case Studies)