Archaeological Implications for an Agent-Based Model of Subsistence Intensification in the Western Desert of Australia
Agent-based models are useful tools for modeling decision making and its system level effects when the system being modeled is too complex to be accurately described by a simple mathematical model. This is important archaeologically because site distributions and material assemblages represent the aggregate results of many individual subsistence decisions that take place in a complex ecological and social landscape. In this poster, we present an agent-based model for subsistence intensification and landscape modification in the western desert of Australia. This model includes variables common in human behavioral ecology regarding foraging decisions, including processing time, return rate, and probability of capture, as well as cultural variables such as kinship patterns and property ownership. We demonstrate the predictive capacity of this model for interpreting the archaeological record using data for site distribution and faunal assemblages. Of particular importance is the role of strategic landscape modification to support immediate foraging goals, particularly with respect to anthropogenic fires. This is supported by ethnographic observations of Martu hunting and foraging patterns. The agent-based model discussed here has broad implications for interpreting individual and group decision-making from the archaeological record.
Cite this Record
Archaeological Implications for an Agent-Based Model of Subsistence Intensification in the Western Desert of Australia. Christopher Jazwa, Michael Price, Douglas Bird. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404915)
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