Scaling Analysis of Prehistoric Wyoming Camp Sites—Implications for Hunter-Gatherer Social Dynamics
Recent studies suggest many properties of human settlements vary in predictable ways with population size. These studies have shown, for example, that more populous settlements are systematically denser on average than less populous settlements in a wide range of societies. In this presentation we examine this densification effect in mobile hunting and gathering societies by analyzing a database of information for prehistoric stone circle (tipi ring) sites in the plains and intermontane basins of Wyoming, USA. We examine the relationship between total camp area and the number of bison hide tipis (reflected by surface stone rings) present at these archaeological sites. We attempt to control for a variety of factors that might condition stone circle visibility and density, including palimpsest occupations, in establishing whether these camps became denser or less dense as the number of co-campers increased. We also compare our results to those observed in a global ethnographic dataset. The latter suggest mobile hunter-gatherer societies do not take advantage of the opportunities for energized crowding that characterize more sedentary societies. Our study represents an initial attempt to determine whether this de-densification effect is also apparent in the archaeological record of mobile hunter-gatherers.
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Scaling Analysis of Prehistoric Wyoming Camp Sites—Implications for Hunter-Gatherer Social Dynamics. Scott Ortman, Laura Scheiber, Zachary Cooper. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443890)
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Abstract Id(s): 20864