Evolutionary Theory and Archaeology, Part II: Applications of Human Behavioral Ecology, Macroevolutionary Approaches, and Costly Signaling

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

This session complements Evolutionary Theory and Archaeology, Part I. The research featured in this session explores applications of human behavioral ecology, macroevolutionary approaches, and costly signaling in archaeological contexts. As with the first session, we aim to examine new conceptual and methodological tools that allow for the conduct of evolutionary-based archaeology as well as identify appropriate domains of application. Furthermore, we aim to bring together a group of evolutionary-minded researchers to discuss outstanding problems of shared interest and to plant the seeds for future collaboration. Discussants will comment on the research presented in the context of their own ideas about where we as a group should focus our future efforts to benefit the discipline as a whole.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-8 of 8)

  • Documents (8)

  • Big House on the Prairie?: Signal Quality across Multi-ethnic Homesteading Contexts in the Central Plains (USA) (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only LuAnn Wandsnider.

    Homesteaders colonizing central Nebraska (Central Plains, USA) in the late 1800s constructed communities that varied in terms of ethnic heterogeneity as well as across other dimensions. Costly signaling tenets explored to date suggest that for multi-lingual and multi-ethnic communities, we expect material culture, in this case, homestead size and ornateness, to index family capacities; in linguistically and ethnically homogenous communities, such a material signal may have had less saliency....

  • Costly signaling and the dynamics of consumption in the early-modern Atlantic world:the case of clay tobacco pipes. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Fraser Neiman.

    For sixty years archaeologists studying the early-modern Atlantic world have relied on the decline in the stem-hole diameters of clay-tobacco pipes to date their sites. But they have been incurious about the causal dynamics responsible for the ocean-spanning secular trend and variation around it. In this paper I draw on costly signaling theory to a build a simple model of change in marketing strategies of producers and the signaling strategies of consumers that might account for the trend. I...

  • Macroevolutionary Achaeology in 2015: Testing Historical and Evolutionary Hypotheses, for example, about Arctic Migration Pulses (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lindsay Scott. Anna Marie Prentiss. Matthew J. Walsh.

    Macroevolutionary archaeology seeks to examine cultural evolutionary processes at multiple hierarchical scales spanning artifact technology to economic, social, and political strategies. This approach offers the opportunity for scholars to test general hypotheses about tempo and mode of evolutionary change and it also lends itself to the development of formal tests of general hypotheses about human history in the longue durée. In this paper we present a review of current research in...

  • Renaissance Florentine Palaces, Costly Signaling, and Lineage Survival (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Church.

    The elites of Florence, Italy built a huge number of palaces during the city state’s period of republican government between 1282 and 1532. Intuitively, these palaces seem like a perfect fit with the predictions of costly signaling theory: they were expensive, highly visible, and vast, and the families that commissioned their construction viewed them as ways of reflecting and producing status. But were these structures costly signals, or did elites spend money on lavish houses simply because...

  • Roman Baths at Antiochia ad Cragum: A Preliminary Evaluation of Bath Architecture as Costly Signals in the Ancient Mediterranean (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Holly Staggs.

    In the province of Rough Cilicia, monumental public architecture was built in the initial phase of the social and political incorporation of southern Asia Minor into the Roman Empire during the early Imperial Period. This analysis focuses on two monumental baths at the site of Antiochia ad Cragum, located in modern day southern Turkey, and also implicates the monumental bath phenomena throughout southern Asia Minor. Multi-level signaling theory is utilized in this study to understand the...

  • Signaling Entitlement: the Behavioral Ecology of Conspicuous Consumption (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only James Boone.

    Everyone agrees that conspicuous consumption is some kind of social display, but what kind of display is it? I argue that conspicuous consumption is (or is like) a territorial display in social space, wherein social space is defined as a kind of virtual territory in which resources produced by collective action with a social group are allocated and defended. There is general agreement that conspicuous consumption involves the expenditure of surplus production, but there is continuing debate over...

  • That Complex Whole: Hierarchies, Sorts, and Punctuation (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Rosenberg.

    Implicit in most approaches to the evolution of culture is both the view that cultural evolution is always incremental and that cultures are structurally simple entities, making individual cultures seem entirely as capable of evolving in one direction as another, based solely on phenotypic plasticity and/or selective forces. However, as noted 140+ years ago by Tylor, culture is a complex whole. Structurally, it can best be viewed as multiple reflexive social, behavioral and informational...

  • Two archaeologies? Costly signaling and human behavioral ecology in archaeology (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lisa Nagaoka.

    Archaeological research using human behavioral ecology (HBE) models has significantly increased over the past decade both in number and scope. Originally most HBE research was relatively narrow, focusing on prey choice, diet breadth, and resource depression. Since then, it has expanded into areas beyond examining efficiency of foraging strategies. Driven mainly by anthropological and ethnoarchaeological research, these studies have investigated the influence of factors such as age, gender,...