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Why settlement scaling research is a good fit for archaeology

Author(s): Michael Smith

Year: 2017

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Although initially developed to understand contemporary urban systems, the method and theory of settlement scaling are particularly appropriate for archaeological data. The scaling framework can be seen as an outgrowth of existing archaeological research on demography and settlement patterns. Although developed independently, the "social reactor" model that explains observed patterning is in fact well-grounded in anthropological and archaeological theory. The key process that drives change is "energized crowding," or the social interactions among individuals within the built environment. The scaling framework is general enough to apply to settlements in all types of human societies; it does not require the institutions or behaviors of the contemporary capitalist economy. This is a thoroughly empirical line of research that generates propositions that can be rigorously tested against archaeological data. Our positive findings to date contribute to a richer and broader fundamental understanding of human settlements, their generative character, and their changes over time.

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Why settlement scaling research is a good fit for archaeology. Michael Smith. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429176)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14342

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