Maritime Least Cost Path Analysis of Paleoamerican Migration on the Northwest Coast of North America

  • Author / Creator
    Gustas, Robert H
  • In this thesis, I use the Geographic Information System (GIS) technique of least cost path analysis to recreate the maritime movement events of Paleoamerican peoples traveling through five different North American Northwest Coast landscapes during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. I make use of multiple modeling simulations, movement cost-weighting scenarios, and spatial data resolutions to predict the paths that early mariners may have used to travel through the physical world that existed between 10,000 and 16,000 cal. yr BP. This spatial analysis helps to identify areas that may have been inhabited by the first peoples to arrive in the New World by ranking locations within landscapes by ease of access as determined from physiological, environmental, and cultural variables. Using these values, the paths of least resistance between movement event origin and destination points are plotted and the patterns of predicted movement event routes are analyzed within the context of biogeographically oriented transient explorers undertaking long range leap-frog boat based journeys. By looking at least cost path clustering patterns, directional mean, coastline proximity, and amount of overland travel significant new insights are made into the application of least cost path analysis to prehistoric maritime migrations and the Paleoamerican history of the Northwest Coast. Lastly, I use this knowledge to suggest locations that have a high probability of containing Paleoamerican sites based on the results of my maritime least cost path modeling.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Anthropology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Supernant, Kisha (Anthropology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Ives, John (Anthropology)
    • Losey, Robert (Anthropology)