Matching Items (2)

The impacts of geography and climate change on Magdalenian social networks

Description

This dissertation uses a comparative approach to investigate long-term human- environment interrelationships in times of climate change. It uses Geographical Information Systems and ecological models to reconstruct the Magdalenian (~20,000-

This dissertation uses a comparative approach to investigate long-term human- environment interrelationships in times of climate change. It uses Geographical Information Systems and ecological models to reconstruct the Magdalenian (~20,000- 14,000 calibrated years ago) environments of the coastal mountainous zone of Cantabria (Northwest Spain) and the interior valleys of the Dordogne (Southwest France) to contextualize the social networks that could have formed during a time of high climate and resource variability. It simulates the formation of such networks in an agent-based model, which documents the processes underlying the formation of archaeological assemblages, and evaluates the potential impacts of climate-topography interactions on cultural transmission. This research then reconstructs the Magdalenian social networks visible through a multivariate statistical analysis of stylistic similarities among portable art objects. As these networks cannot be analyzed directly to infer social behavior, their characteristics are compared to the results of the agent-based model, which provide characteristics estimates of the Magdalenian latent social networks that most likely produced the empirical archaeological assemblage studied.

This research contributes several new results, most of which point to the advantages of using an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of the archaeological record. It demonstrates the benefits of using an agent-based model to parse social data from long- term palimpsests. It shows that geographical and environmental contexts affect the structure of social networks, which in turn affects the transmission of ideas and goods that flow through it. This shows the presence of human-environment interactions that not only affected our ancestors’ reaction to resource insecurities, but also led them to innovate and improve the productivity of their own environment. However, it also suggests that such alterations may have reduced the populations’ resilience to strong climatic changes, and that the region with diverse resources provided a more stable and resilient environment than the region transformed to satisfy the immediate needs of its population.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer settlement and ecology of the Romanian Carpathians and adjacent areas

Description

Despite nearly five decades of archaeological research in the Romanian Carpathian basin and adjacent areas, how human foragers organized their stone artifact technologies under varying environmental conditions remains poorly understood.

Despite nearly five decades of archaeological research in the Romanian Carpathian basin and adjacent areas, how human foragers organized their stone artifact technologies under varying environmental conditions remains poorly understood.

Some broad generalizations have been made; most work in the region is concerned primarily with descriptive and definitional issues rather than efforts to explain past human behavior or human-environmental interactions. Modern research directed towards understanding human adaptation to different environments remains in its infancy. Grounded in the powerful conceptual framework of evolutionary ecology and utilizing recent methodological advances, this work has shown that shifts in land-use strategies changes the opportunities for social and biological interaction among Late Pleistocene hominins in western Eurasia, bringing with it a plethora of important consequences for cultural and biological evolution.

I employ, in my Dissertation, theoretical and methodological advances derived from human behavioral ecology (HBE) and lithic technology organization to show how variability in lithic technology can explain differences in technoeconomic choices and land-use strategies of Late Pleistocene foragers in Romanian Carpathians Basin and adjacent areas. Set against the backdrop of paleoenvironmental change, the principal questions I addressed are whether or not technological variation at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic can account for fundamental changes at its end.

The analysis of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic strata, from six archaeological sites, shows that the lithic industries were different not because of biocultural differences in technological organization, landuse strategies, and organizational flexibility. Instead the evidence suggests that technoeconomic strategies, the intensity of artifact curation and how foragers used the land appear to have been more closely related to changing environmental conditions, task-specific activities, and duration of occupation. This agrees well with the results of studies conducted in other areas and with those predicted from theoretically-derived models based on evolutionary ecology. My results lead to the conclusion that human landuse effectively changes the environment of selection for hominins and their lithic technologies, an important component of the interface between humans and the natural world. Foragers move across the landscape in comparable ways in very different ecological settings, cross-cutting both biological morphotypes and prehistorian-defined analytical units.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015