Evaluating Differential Animal Carcass Transport Decisions at Regional Scales using Bayesian Mixed-Effects Models
Author(s): Ryan Breslawski
This is an abstract from the "Novel Statistical Techniques in Archaeology II (QUANTARCH II)" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Zooarchaeologists frequently face the problem of explaining uneven skeletal element representation, with explanations involving either non-human taphonomic agents or differential carcass transport decisions made by humans. Existing statistical methods for evaluating these explanations are generally applicable at the assemblage level but are not suited for larger spatial scales encompassing multiple assemblages: inferences about the dietary variables underlying regional skeletal element patterns are complicated by inter-assemblage variability in sample size, in taphonomy, and in the underlying transport behaviors of interest. Bayesian mixed-effects models offer a way to address these issues, allowing for analyses of the dietary variables that structured transport decisions across assemblages of varying sample sizes and taphonomic histories. An example application is provided with the late Pleistocene record of anthropogenic bison assemblages in North America, which have been long argued to reflect transport decisions differing from those in the Holocene. This approach is generalizable to any regional archaeofaunal record containing a common prey animal that humans procured and differentially transported, and therefore, could be applicable to the archaeological investigation of hunting economies in a diversity of contexts.
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Evaluating Differential Animal Carcass Transport Decisions at Regional Scales using Bayesian Mixed-Effects Models. Ryan Breslawski. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452318)
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Abstract Id(s): 23797