Martu Ethnoarchaeology: Foraging, Site Structure and the Scales of Constraint on Human Behavior
In his watershed 1995 publication, O’Connell outlined the utility of approaching ethnoarchaeology through a general theory of behavior by noting the disparity between studies examining faunal remains and those attempting to explain site structure. While the former was finding great success by drawing on models from behavioral ecology, the later was stagnant and lacking a general theory of behavior. Drawing on ethnoarchaeological data collected with Martu Aboriginal foragers, we highlight a possible explanation for this pattern. At large spatial extents, human behavior is constrained by patterned environmental variability, as such, a general theory of behavior is likely to characterize key aspects of human decisions. At small spatial extents, human behavior is not constrained by patterned environmental variability, as such, any general theory is unlikely to explain human decisions that produce site structure. While studies of site structure will likely remain descriptive, ethnoarchaeological analyses examining variability at larger scalar extents can provide archaeologists with key insights into the interpretation of prehistoric human behavior.
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Martu Ethnoarchaeology: Foraging, Site Structure and the Scales of Constraint on Human Behavior. Brian Codding, Christopher Parker, Rebecca Bliege Bird, David Zeanah, Douglas Bird. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394845)
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min long: 118; min lat: -28 ; max long: 130; max lat: -18 ;