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Forager Efficiency, Demographic Shift and Environmental Change: Re-evaluating the Broad Spectrum Revolution in Mainland Southeast Asia

Author(s): Cyler Conrad

Year: 2015

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Summary

On the Thai-Malay Peninsula the Pleistocene to Holocene transition was accompanied by significant post-glacial sea level rise, new environmental conditions, and increased human population densities. How did foragers adapt to these changes? In this region, the BSR has been the primary framework for understanding forager response to these conditions since Gorman’s analysis of the fauna from Spirit Cave (1971). Gorman suggested, following Flannery’s in the Near East, that at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition a broadening of the diet occurred to include resources previously ignored by Southeast Asian hunter-gatherer groups because of the environmental change and human demographic shifts that occurred. This paper reexamines the BSR in this region by quantifying zooarchaeological data from a series of Pleistocene-Holocene sites in Thailand and Malaysia, guided by the theoretical predictions of the prey-choice model in foraging theory. Results suggest that a ‘true’ BSR did not occur during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition; instead forager efficiency remained high during periods of environmental change and human demographic increase.

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Forager Efficiency, Demographic Shift and Environmental Change: Re-evaluating the Broad Spectrum Revolution in Mainland Southeast Asia. Cyler Conrad. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396692)


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min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

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