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Archaeological Analysis Using Binford’s Environmental and Ethnographic Frames of Reference

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

Binford (2001) constructed environmental and ethnographic data sets specifically for archaeologists to use as tools to leverage learning about the past. While researchers from several other fields ranging from cross-cultural analysis and epidemiology to macroecology have taken advantage of these data, relatively few archaeologists have pursued the kinds of learning strategies Binford imagined. The posters in this session showcase some of the archaeological work that is being done using Binford’s frames of reference and related analytical strategies. Examples span a wide range of geographic and temporal scales, explore ecological components of observed adaptations, and test expectations for what hunter-gatherers might be like against archaeological observation.


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  • Documents (9)

Documents

  • Appliyng environmental and etnographic frames of reference Northwestern Patagonia, Argentina. (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Florencia Rizzo. Sabrina Leonardt. Amber Johnson. Vivian Scheinsohn.

    In this work we apply theenvironmental and ethnographic frames of referenceconstructed by Binford (2001) and calculated in EnvCalc2.1 in order to generate and evaluatearchaeological hypothesis for the Central-Western area of Chubut Province (Patagonia, Argentina), an area in which archaeological research has recentlystarted. Patagonia is an elongatedterritory located between 39º W and 55º S in Southern South America. By its shape, it receives animportant oceanic influence which determines the...

  • Applying Frames of Reference: The CLIMAP dataset and the Middle to Later Stone Age transition in the Namib Desert (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Theodore Marks. Grant McCall. Andrew Schroll. James Enloe.

    In his landmark work, "Constructing Frames of Reference", Lewis Binford attempted to create a series of models relating hunter-gatherer adaptive responses to observable climatic and ecological dynamics. In Southern Africa, the large scale shift toward microlithic technologies associated with the Middle to Later Stone Age transition is believed to coincide with the environmental changes that occurred around the Last glacial Maximum. It has been frequently hypothesized in the African literature...

  • Extensification in Archaeology (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Rafael Goni.

    The concept of extensification was used in a ethnographical sense, particularly by L. Binford (2001). It was deeply related with the new organization of American hunter-gatherers when horses were introduced in the continent by European people. The main examples to introduce this concept were the Great Plains societies in North America and the Tehuelche society in Patagonia, South America. However, the use of the concept of extensification in an archaeological perspective is not very usual....

  • How to build an input file for Binford's frames of reference from existing data sources (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Sarah Lamkin. Kayleigh Mrasek. Luke Edwards.

    This poster demonstrates how to build an input file to calculate Binford’s environmental and hunter-gatherer frames of reference using available global data standards and GIS technology. Required input values include latitude, longitude, elevation, distance to the nearest coast in km, soil type, vegetation type, and mean monthly values of temperature and rainfall. All of these data are freely available in global standard data sets (WORLDCLIM: Hijmans et al 2005, World Wildlife Foundation Habitat...

  • Human Response to Environmental Change during the Early/Mid Holocene in Central Western Argentina: Frame of Reference in Comparative Perspective (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Adolfo Gil. Gustavo Neme. Amber Johnson. David Zeanah. Robert Elston.

    Early / Middle Holocene human strategies are an archaeological topic of debate in arid Central Western Argentina. Among the controversies are whether population decreased and what were human responses to increased aridity. In this presentation, we use Binford’s environmental frames of reference to model regional Early and Middle Holocene subsistence. Radiocarbon trends are used as paleodemography proxy, archaeofaunal, archaeobotanical, lithic assemblages and isotopes on human bone are used to...

  • Human Response to Environmental Change during the Early/Mid Holocene in the Great Basin: Frame of Reference in Comparative Perspective (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT David Zeanah. Robert Elston. Adolfo Gil. Gustavo Neme. Amber Johnson.

    At the transition from Early to Middle Holocene, the Great Basin witnessed higher effective temperatures and reduced aquatic resource zones. Intensified use of terrestrial plants, reflected by the Middle Holocene appearance of milling equipment, is an archaeological signature of the transition, but the relative importance of terrestrial fauna and aquatic resources under either climatic regime remains unclear. Here we use Binford’s environmental frames of reference to model regional Early and...

  • Human Use of the Sand Hills (Central Plains, North America) during the Peri-Medieval Warm Period: Expectations and Preliminary Observations (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT LuAnn Wandsnider. Matthew Douglass.

    The Sand Hills of northcentral Nebraska (Central Plains, North America) were transgressively devegetated and revegetated during the Medieval Warm Period yet also may have hosted several oases. We rely on Binford’s hunter-gatherer frames of reference to model a series of expectations for human occupation here in terms of innovation, resource management systems organization, social network scale and character, and place development as the Medieval Warm Period waxed and waned. Extant archaeological...

  • Macroecological analysis of recent Kalahari site structure (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Robert Hitchcock. Amber Johnson. Luke Edwwards.

    In the 1980s, Lewis Binford (1931-2011) started an analysis of hunter-gatherer site structure that was later put on hold in order to organize ethnographic and environmental data to use in the analysis (Binford 2001). Although the frames of reference were constructed, Binford never completed his analysis of site structure. This poster represents an initial attempt to realize Binford’s vision of a controlled analysis of site structure at a large regional scale using data he organized for this...

  • USING BINFORD’S FRAMES OF REFERENCE TO MODEL HUNTER-GATHERER MOBILITY AND GROUP SIZE IN THE ANDEAN PUNA (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT Elizabeth Pintar. Amber Johnson. Sarah Lamkin.

    Hunter-gatherer lifeways dominated the Salt Puna of South America for at least 5000 years before domesticated animals and plants appear in the archaeological record. The ruggedness of the landscape (with a baseline elevation of 3300 masl), the low ET and the distribution of resources dependent on a decreasing E-W rainfall gradient surely had an impact on prehistoric landscape use and mobility of ancient hunter-gatherers. In this poster we follow Binford (2001) in arguing there is a link between...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America