Large, Dispersed, Occupation Aggregates in Prehistory: A Global Comparative Analysis

Author(s): Kirrily White

Year: 2017


There is no agreement as to how very large, dispersed, occupation aggregates in prehistory such as the Trypillia megasites (4th M BCE), Chaco Canyon (9th–12th C CE) and the sprawling Neolithic settlements of the Middle Yangzi (3rd M BCE) should be classified in archaeology. Often these sites behaved very differently to the large, higher-density settlements with which they are sometimes compared. The aim of this research is to look at material and spatial patterns in the formation, development and demise of these dispersed, occupation aggregate sites on a global comparative scale to understand how they fit into broad patterns of human settlement behavior in the past. By contextualizing changing occupation patterns over time in regional technological development, it becomes apparent that within this form of settlement there is very little change in local spatial and material operation when compared to their smaller predecessors and contemporaries. Comparing these patterns and technologies globally, it is possible to hypothesize that human groups used low occupation density and, in part at least, mobility within long-standing regional and supra-regional traditions of building and trade as the most common ways of managing population increase and the most extensive occupation aggregates their regions had ever seen.

Cite this Record

Large, Dispersed, Occupation Aggregates in Prehistory: A Global Comparative Analysis. Kirrily White. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430826)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15681