Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
MnModel is a GIS-based model that predicts the potential for finding as yet undiscovered archaeological sites on the basis of relationships between known archaeological sites and a suite of environmental variables. Environmental variables are derived (e.g. modeled or mapped) through the interpretation of basic datasets such as elevation and hydrography. Variables represent attributes of these data, such as slope or distance to lakes, that would have been important to hunter-gatherers.
Once all of the environmental variables have been derived using GIS, their values are sampled at locations where archaeological resources are known to be present as well as where they are known to be absent. The environmental variable values at these locations are submitted to a statistical analysis program for a multi-variate analysis. The results of this analysis may be an equation or a set of rules. The GIS applies these results to the geographic data to create the final model (map) of archaeological site potential. Finally, the models are evaluated to determine how well they perform.