ABSTRACT

In the last two decades an increasing number of archaeological least-cost path (LCP) studies have been published. In nearly all these publications, the aim has been to reconstruct ancient routes and route networks (for example, Fábrega Álvarez and Parcero Oubiña, 2007; Verhagen and Jeneson, 2012) or to identify the principal factors governing the construction of known roads or road segments (for instance, Bell and Lock, 2000; Kantner and Hobgood, 2003). Sometimes LCPs help to identify locations which hold a central position in a territory: in the example of Hare (2004), a site is at a crossroads of intra-and extra-valley LCPs and all north-south connections between major settlements pass through that site. LCP analysis recently has become part of the predictive modeling toolkit in American archaeology (Whitley and Burns, 2008). Such models are based on the assumptions that the initial travel arteries were created by migratory herbivore travel and that the early hunters followed herds of these animals; subsequently, subsistence and settlement patterns developed in connection with these first routes.