|Figure 1. Overview of the prehistoric sites that were used for the evaluation of the DEMs and Stage3 21 ka biome classes|
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The overall objective of this work is to apply GIS-based cost distance modeling (CDM) to site catchment modeling and analysis of prehistoric (Solutrean) sites in Andalusia. The implementation of a GIS-method for slope-based CDM was explained in detail, so that it can be replicated easily in future studies. Additional cost components, vegetation and stream networks, were included in the method. The presented CDM approach uses slope rasters as input data, which were derived from digital elevation models (DEMs). Various DEMs that differ in cell size, accuracy and other characteristics can be applied to this method. Thus, a major goal of this work is to investigate the influence different publicly available DEMs (SRTM, ASTER GDEM, EU-DEM, official 5-m/10-m cell size DEMs) have on the results of GIS-based CDM. While the investigation was conducted on sites from different chronocultural periods, a case study was performed on Solutrean sites in order to test the CDM approach by producing actual results and then comparing and interpreting them from an archaeological perspective. The results of the DEM evaluation with resampled horizontal resolutions show a clear influence of the DEM cell size on the modeled catchment area sizes. The investigation also indicates that this influence can be superimposed by other factors, such as noise and residuals of filtered anthropogenic features, when using DEMs of different origins.