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Simulating Late Holocene landscape use and the distribution of stone artefacts in arid western New South Wales, Australia

Author(s): Benjamin Davies

Year: 2015

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Summary

The archaeological landscapes of arid environments often feature surface scatters of stone artefacts, which are used to infer past human activity and organization. For hunter-gatherer groups this typically involves some interpretation of mobility; however, the scales of activity inferred from these assemblages usually extend beyond the boundaries of study areas. Understanding what these assemblages mean in terms of human mobility requires assessment of how samples fit within a wider landscape distribution. This study uses computer simulation to evaluate interpretations of mobility and place use from the ratio of cortical to non-cortical stone in surface assemblages from arid western New South Wales, Australia. First, the cortex ratio concept is investigated using an agent-based model coupled with an experimental dataset. These initial model outcomes are found to be consistent with expectations from the distribution of cortex, and the influence of core reduction intensity and selection intensity on assemblage variation is demonstrated. Second, a measure called the cumulative cortex ratio is proposed for evaluating the dispersal of cortex over a continuous surface. Finally, the differential distribution of cortex within the Rutherford’s Creek study area is assessed by simulating different scenarios of place use and computing the cumulative cortex ratio on simulated data.

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Simulating Late Holocene landscape use and the distribution of stone artefacts in arid western New South Wales, Australia. Benjamin Davies. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395157)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Oceania


Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;

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