Before Farming

Distinguishing environmental and density-dependent aspects of adaptation

Before Farming (2008), 2008, (4), 1–14.

Abstract

The Middle Holocene was a period in which significant climate change and rapidly increasing population density are often both associated with dramatic changes in human subsistence and social organisation. Methodologically, it is interesting to ask: how can archaeologists learn to distinguish environmentally- and demographically-conditioned aspects of change in such strategies? Limiting the scope of the study to the Americas partially controls variation in the timing of initial occupation, although both the scale and impact of climate change vary widely. This provides a laboratory for testing expectations of analytical models which allow environmental and demographic variables to change independently. This exploration is founded on Binford's (2001) environmental and hunter-gatherer frames of reference.

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Johnson, Amber