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Settlement Patterning and the Ideal Free Distribution in the Ethnographic and Prehistoric Sierra Nevada of California

Author(s): Nicholas Hanten

Year: 2017

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Summary

The ideal free distribution, which predicts that individuals will assort themselves across habitats of varying quality such that all individuals receive equal fitness benefits, can be an important model in the analysis of human settlement patterning. Despite its simplicity, the ideal free distribution can be difficult to apply to archaeological problems because, in addition to often requiring estimates of population size, the model necessitates a definition of habitat "suitability" in the context of past environments and subsistence systems. The current study attempts to overcome these problems by combining ethnographic data on population size and location with with environmental resource distribution data to define habitat suitabilities using the distribution of resources across the landscape and their effect on settlement patterning during the ethnographic period. These results are then compared with prehistoric data sets in an effort to explain settlement and subsistence patterns in the late prehistoric Sierra Nevada.


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Settlement Patterning and the Ideal Free Distribution in the Ethnographic and Prehistoric Sierra Nevada of California. Nicholas Hanten. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431701)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17482

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