CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFICACY OF THE LEAST-COST PATH IN THE PREDICTIVE STUDY OF QHAPAQ ÑAN
EVALUACIÓN CRÍTICA DE LA EFICACIA DEL CAMINO DE MENOR COSTE PARA EL ESTUDIO PREDICTIVO DEL QHAPAQ ÑAN
The Inca road system, with an extension of 60,000 km, is the largest archaeological object in the Americas. This substantial characteristic makes it an object of study and preservation from a scientific and heritage perspective. Accordingly, different methodologies have begun to be adopted to record it and interpret it, including geomatic modeling. In this context, this work aims to assess whether the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques, such as the Least-Cost Path calculation, which is commonly used in archeology, can be applied to the study of the Qhapaq Ñan, or, on the contrary, and as the few historical data show in this regard, it is better to use other less economistic techniques that include a more comprehensive look of the human experience in the landscape. To assess the applicability of this space technique, four sections of Inca roads were studied in the Prepuna and Puna areas of the province of Salta, Argentina, which, during the Cuzco occupation, played a key role in the control of productive activities and in symbolic terms.