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Local extinctions and regional cultural diversification in time-averaged assemblages

Author(s): Galen Miller-Atkins ; Luke Premo

Year: 2016

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Modern human behavior, including regional cultural differentiation, has traditionally been characterized as a relatively recent phenomenon despite evidence of modernity before 50,000 years ago from the Paleolithic record of Africa. Researchers interested in how demography might improve our interpretation of the archaeological record have shown that the rate of local group extinctions can affect neutral cultural diversity and the rate at which copy errors accumulate in structured populations. However, it remains unknown whether a high rate of local extinction affects time-averaged archaeological assemblages—not just populations—in such a way as to inhibit what archaeologists might recognize as regionally distinctive cultural traditions. Here, we discuss results from a spatially explicit agent-based model designed to address the effect of local extinctions on regional differentiation in selectively neutral culturally transmitted traits in artificial archaeological landscapes. We employ local indicators of spatial association at multiple spatial scales to assess the extent to which the spatial scale of the regional “traditions” recovered from the archaeological data expand or contract as a function of local group extinction rate. We also assess the extent to which time-averaging regulates the effect of local extinctions on regional cultural differentiation in assemblages.

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Local extinctions and regional cultural diversification in time-averaged assemblages. Galen Miller-Atkins, Luke Premo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404204)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

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