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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

ENERGY EXPENDITURE ACROSS THE ETOWAH CHEIFDOM: TESTING A HUMAN MODEL AGAINST ESTABLISHED ALGORITHMS**

Abstract

Least Cost Analysis (LCA) can be used to assess the most calorically efficient way for a traveler to get between two points in the landscape. For anthropologists, LCA provides insight into travel routes and trade networks used by ancient peoples. Geographic information systems (GIS) and caloric algorithms are commonly used to find these pathways, however, few have been tested against actual human data. To this end, this study addresses two aims. First, it tests the validity of accepted algorithms against calorie output, step count, and heart rate data from living participants. Second, a thorough analysis of calorically efficient routes between related mound sites and secondary capitals of the Etowah chiefdom (1000- 1550 AD) has not been undertaken. Establishing cost effective travel routes will bolster analyses of social relationships in the area based on material culture. Water and foot travel routes are examined between four of these sites and the Etowah Indian Mounds (Cartersville, GA) incorporating weight bearing stress, topographical changes, and LCA models. The results of this study will establish a map of likely travel routes within the chiefdom and demonstrate the utility of using living participants in LCA.

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