Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Minnesota Statewide Archaeological Predictive Model

About MnModel

MnModel is a set of GIS-based tools that help the Minnesota Department of Transportation avoid impacts on archaeological sites throughout Minnesota. MnModel uses GIS-based statistical models that map the potential for pre-1837 surface archaeological sites in Minnesota. 

MnModel is significant because it is the first archaeological predictive model to:

These models are used by MnDOT for site avoidance and survey design. This helps MnDOT meet the mandate of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

MnModel Phase 3 Survey Implementation Model showing correspondence of high probability areas with archaeological site locations.
MnModel Phase 3 Survey Implementation Model

Project Background

Phases 1-3

MnDOT initiated MnModel in 1995 as part of a major environmental streamlining project. The project was made possible by funding from the Federal Highway Administration's Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. The Phase 3 models now in use were released in 1998.

Phase 4

Phase 3 models have been in use for nearly 20 years. Over that time period, the archaeological database has grown, more high quality, high resolution GIS data has become available, and PC-based computing and GIS software have improved. All of these are contributing to the development of Phase 4 models now in progress.