Forager Mobility, Constructed Environments, and Emergent Settlement Hierarchy: Insights from Altiplano Archaeology
AuthorHaas, William Randall Jr
AdvisorKuhn, Steven L.
Aldenderfer, Mark S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation examines human settlement-size variation through the lens of hunter-gatherer archaeology. Research article 1 presents an analysis of prehistoric hunter-gatherer settlement patterns from a wide range of environmental contexts and in the absence of socioeconomic complexity. Hunter-gather settlement size variation is found to exhibit heavy-tailed statistical structure that is consistent with the statistical structure of modern settlement-size variation, supporting claims that socioeconomic complexity is not requisite for the formation of so-called settlement-size hierarchies in human societies. Following insights from hunter-gatherer anthropology, complex systems research, and ecology, research article 2 proposes that the structure of hunter-gatherer site-size variation is an emergent property of obligate tool use among mobile hunter-gatherers. As materials are moved, modified, and deposited on the landscape, they effectively subsidize the costs of future land use at those locations, which results in additional material deposition, attracting future use, and so on. Using an agent-based model, it is demonstrated that this recursive niche-construction behavior is sufficient to generate the heavy-tailed property of hunter-gatherer site-size variation. The working model is then used to predict other dimensions of hunter-gatherer settlement structure related to artifact clustering and site occupation histories. Research articles 2 and 3 present test results based on Late Archaic Period (7,000-5,000 B.P.) settlement patterns in the Lake Titicaca Basin, Peru. Good agreement is found between the predictions and empirical observations suggesting that ecological niche construction may have played a significant role in structuring hunter-gatherer mobility and land use, which in turn may have created a context for emergent settlement hierarchies.
Degree ProgramGraduate College