Irmela HERZOG1 / Alden YÉPEZ2
(1The Rhineland Commission for Archaeological Monuments and Sites, Bonn, Germany / 2Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador)

The Quijos and Cosanga study area is located in the East Andean mountains in Ecuador. This area is probably the origin of the Cosanga pottery which has also been recorded in the late cultures of the Andes in northern Ecuador. The trade of pottery in prehispanic time is one of the reasons for studying this area in terms of movement patterns. Based on the assumption that the ancient movement patterns are preserved in old paths, least-cost path analysis is used to identify the main friction factors. Four old paths are considered, and it seems that slope and crossing streams are important friction factors, though the match of the known routes and the least-cost path reconstructions is not perfect in most cases. Based on the model describing the movement patterns, the routes between known ancient path segments are reconstructed. Moreover, least-cost site catchments are generated for seven Late Period settlements recorded in a survey project directed by Andrea Cuéllar in 2002. According to Cuéllar, three of these settlements are small, two are moderately nucleated and two are large nucleated. The catchment sizes and the settlement sizes do not correlate, suggesting that other aspects beyond subsistence played an important role for choosing a settlement location. Viewshed calculations show that two of the nucleated Late Period settlements could have exercised visual control over the old routes.

Keywords: Least-cost paths, site catchments, viewsheds, East Andean mountains