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Theory and Practice of Cost Functions
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Fusion of Cultures, 2494, page 375-382. Oxford, Archaeopress, (2010)

The cost function is the backbone of any archaeological least-cost analysis. In this paper, first the general properties of cost functions are outlined, for example all costs must be positive. It is shown that some of the functions used in archaeological least-cost path (LCP) studies do not fulfil these requirements. Nearly all LCP studies are slope-based. Therefore several slope-dependent cost functions for walkers and vehicles are discussed. Slope is often combined with some other factor, so the different methods for combining cost components are compared. The theoretical concepts presented are applied to reconstruct part of an ancient trail. The study area is a hilly terrain in Rhineland, Germany, with many small rivers and creeks.
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