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  Subjects -> ARCHAEOLOGY (Total: 300 journals)
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Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.014
Citation Impact (citeScore): 3
Number of Followers: 52  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1573-7764 - ISSN (Online) 1072-5369
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2467 journals]
  • The Tip Cross-sectional Area (TCSA) Method Strengthened and Constrained
           with Ethno-historical Material from Sub-Saharan Africa

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      Abstract: Abstract Work on large samples of southern African archaeological lithics, probably used to tip hunting weapons amongst other things, and ethno-historical bone and iron weapon tips of known use exposed limitations in the tip cross-sectional area (TCSA) method’s robustness for hypothesising about variation in ancient weapon-delivery systems. Here, we list some of the limitations and discuss a few recently published improvements in tip cross-sectional area ranges and data presentation. Our main contribution is the meaningful enlargement of datasets obtained from hafted weapon tips and/or weapon tips of known use mostly from sub-Saharan Africa. We briefly discuss why this region is relevant for studying trends in the evolution and development of hunting weapons. Our new data are used to strengthen and constrain the different TCSA ranges used as proxies for poisoned arrow tips, un-poisoned arrow tips, javelin tips, stabbing-spear tips, and to suggest a working TCSA range for thrusting-spear tips. We demonstrate that the calibrated TCSA ranges have robust statistical integrity as proxies for the different weapon-delivery systems they represent. Apart from the dart-tip category, the TCSA method has now been improved to accommodate more nuanced and accurate interpretations, while further strengthening hypothesis building about ancient weapon systems.
      PubDate: 2022-11-30
       
  • Learning by Doing: Investigating Skill Through Techno-Functional Study of
           Recycled Lithic Items from Qesem Cave (Israel)

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      Abstract: Abstract In this study, we discuss learning aspects related to the production of prehistoric stone tools and their use as a holistic process, with a case study from the late Lower Paleolithic Levant—recycled items from the site of Qesem Cave (420–200,000 bp), Israel. Qesem Cave is a central and well-studied Acheuleo-Yabrudian site. Among the set of distinct behaviors documented in this site, the use of small flakes systematically produced from old-discarded flakes (i.e., lithic recycling) stands out. We will present an exploratory techno-functional study of the recycled items from the Amudian context of the southern area of the cave. Previous observations highlighted some unique features characterizing the lithic assemblages of this area, including the possibility that inexperienced knappers in the process of learning had been practicing there. The results of new functional and residue analyses of lithic recycling products in the same area indicate the prevalence of cutting activities performed on soft and soft-medium animal and vegetal resources by recycled items. On this group of tools, microwear diverged from traces recorded from the study of the same categories of implements in other parts of the cave. We discuss the possibility that in the southern area, activities involving inexperienced individuals practicing both the knapping of recycled items and their use were carried out, in the framework of the learning process. The techno-functional approach presented here may serve as an additional means of identifying less skilled individuals, as well as learning and knowledge transmission processes in the prehistoric lithic record.
      PubDate: 2022-11-29
       
  • Toys as Teachers: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Object Use and Enskillment
           in Hunter–Gatherer Societies

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      Abstract: Abstract Studies of cultural transmission—whether approached by archaeological or ethnographic means—have made great strides in identifying formal teaching and learning arrangements, which in turn can be closely aligned with models of social learning. While novices and apprentices are often in focus in such studies, younger children and their engagement with material culture have received less attention. Against the backdrop of a cross-cultural database of ethnographically documented object use and play in 54 globally distributed foraging communities, we here discuss the ways in which children make and use tools and toys. We provide a cross-cultural inventory of objects made for and by hunter–gatherer children and adolescents. We find that child and adolescent objects are linked to adult material culture, albeit not exclusively so. Toys and tools were primarily handled outside of explicit pedagogical contexts, and there is little evidence for formalised apprenticeships. Our data suggests that children’s self-directed interactions with objects, especially during play, has a critical role in early-age enskillment. Placed within a niche construction framework, we combine ethnographic perspectives on object play with archaeological evidence for play objects to offer an improved cross-cultural frame of reference for how social learning varies across early human life history and what role material culture may play in this process. While our analysis improves the systematic understanding of the role and relevance of play objects among hunter–gatherer societies, we also make the case for more detailed studies of play objects in the context of ethnographic, archival and archaeological cultural transmission research.
      PubDate: 2022-11-28
       
  • Oral Storytelling and Knowledge Transmission in Upper Paleolithic Children
           and Adolescents

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      Abstract: Abstract The ways in which children learn in foraging societies differ from the classroom-based style of learning and teaching typical of industrialized societies in the West. This difference, however, has often been mischaracterized by anthropologists as an absence or rarity of direct teaching in foraging societies. In this paper, following Scalise Sugiyama (Evolution and Human Behavior 22:221–240, 2001), I argue that oral storytelling is a form of pedagogy in foraging societies that shares all of the key features of direct teaching including the signaling of an intention to share information, the identification of intended recipients of this information, and the transmission of knowledge that has applicability beyond the immediate context. I then review the evidence for storytelling/narrative in the Upper Paleolithic. Finally, I explore the implications of this form of teaching for skill acquisition and knowledge transmission in Upper Paleolithic children and adolescents.
      PubDate: 2022-11-19
       
  • Searching for the Individual: Characterising Knowledge Transfer and Skill
           in Prehistoric Personal Ornament Making

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      Abstract: Abstract Research on prehistoric personal ornaments has focused on patterns in materials, technology and processes of change but struggles to place human thought and action at the centre of interpretation. However, striking examples of variations in production, altered and mended ornaments and different levels of skill visible in the quality of finished products, and subsequent adjustments made to them are a recurring feature of archaeological ornament assemblages. In addition to regional data on preferences for types and materials, the movement of ornaments between locations and interregional influences, this evidence provides crucial clues about choices, individual makers, and perceptions of the learning process. This article asks to what extent decision-making, individual levels of skill and the expectations surrounding learning or knowledge transmission can be successfully identified and interpreted using the often-limited information available from prehistoric assemblages. Examples taken from Neolithic assemblages in Turkey are used to explore the mutually shaping human-ornament relationship, intention, expectations of normality and divergence from expectation in the production of ornament assemblages. Ornaments are found to be subject to structured and unstructured adjustments within complex biographies and an active area of individual interpretation of shared concepts.
      PubDate: 2022-11-16
       
  • The Temporality of Shapes: A Genealogy of Early Pottery-Making Practices
           in the Andean–Amazonian Borderland

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      Abstract: Abstract This study explores a different way of writing history as an alternative to the “master narrative” by rethinking the fundamental practice of archaeology—the construction of chronology. Archaeological chronology has often been used as a calendar-like time axis, imposing a uniform temporality on the history of diverse things, each with its rhythm and pace of change. We focused on the arguments of George Kubler, who criticized it and proposed a new chronological framework based on his “formal sequence” concept. This new chronological framework enabled us to recreate the internal temporality of taskscapes of making things. We conducted a case study in the Andean–Amazonian borderland, where a radical change in pottery styles occurred in the second millennium B.C. Here, the methodologies for typology, seriation, and age estimation were all reconsidered to rebuild the regional chronology. We observed a “break” in the local pottery-style structure around the fourteenth century B.C. The changes that occurred at the time were not merely the addition of new technology to the local tradition but the transformation of the system governing the material relationships among potters’ bodies, making tools, and materials, composing the task of pottery-making. We cannot reach the complex and diverse historical narratives from a single, mono-linear chronology. Instead, we revisit the temporality of various taskscapes through the pursuit of the multilinear temporality of shapes. Subsequently, a regional history can be created by interweaving them together.
      PubDate: 2022-11-08
       
  • Stability Through Movement: Theoretical and Practical Considerations of
           Social Space in Central European Neolithic Lakeside Settlements

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      Abstract: Abstract Studies related to prehistoric, Circum-Alpine lakeside settlements have for the last decade or so begun to focus increasingly on the reconstruction of its inhabitant’s social dimensions of life. More traditional models attempting to explain the often-fleeting settlement patterns set in a tightly managed cultural landscape focusing on climate and economic factors alone have proven insufficient and opened up to more nuanced and multi-scalar approaches. Especially built structures, due to their exceptional preservation, constitute a popular jumping-off point for a number of theories and interpretations but recent work has also moved beyond the confines of the settlement to include the wider cultural landscape as crucial in understanding the lakeside phenomenon. This article re-evaluates one of the more popular architecture-based models, namely the non-correspondence model, and subsequently suggests an alternative, more integrative approach based on Amos Rapoport’s understanding of space. The aim is to create a more flexible approach to questions of space, time and meaning that does not stop at the built environment. Input from both the natural and the social sciences is combined in an attempt to sketch out an approximation of life on the lakeshores more than 5000 years ago.
      PubDate: 2022-11-07
       
  • Correction to: Life Around the Elephant in Space and Time: an Integrated
           Approach to Study the Human-Elephant Interactions at the Late Lower
           Paleolithic Site of La Polledrara di Cecanibbio (Rome, Italy)

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      PubDate: 2022-11-05
       
  • A History of Graphing Zooarchaeological Data (Taxonomic Heterogeneity,
           Demography and Mortality, Seasonality, Bone Survivorship, Butchering,
           

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      Abstract: Abstract Evidence gleaned from 1796 pieces of zooarchaeological literature published between 1900 and 2019, from 22 zooarchaeology textbooks published between 1956 and 2019, and 16 books on taphonomy published between 1969 and 2016 is used to assess the history of graphing in zooarchaeology. Mirroring changes in archaeology in general, the use of graphs (bar graphs, line graphs, scatterplots, etc.) to summarize analytical findings in zooarchaeology began in earnest in the 1960s. The variety of graph types expanded in the 1970s as the diversity of zooarchaeological variables documented increased in an effort to answer new questions regarding human behavioral interactions with prey animals and, in the 1980s, to address taphonomic concerns. Newly available computer technology and increased knowledge of statistics, along with the general belief that numbers are objective measures of magnitude, facilitated this expansion. The mean number of graphs per page in zooarchaeology textbooks has remained static (statistically) over the past five decades. The mean number of graphs per page in taphonomy books is a bit greater than in the zooarchaeology texts but statistically no different. The paucity of detailed discussions of what makes for a good graph in the zooarchaeology literature parallels that in the archaeology literature in general. Each graph has its own more or less unique grammar, so rules of thumb for producing effective (minimum mental gymnastics required) and efficient (minimal ink used) graphs are outlined.
      PubDate: 2022-11-03
       
  • A Synthesis of the Dibble et al. Controlled Experiments into the Mechanics
           of Lithic Production

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      Abstract: Abstract Archaeologists have explored a wide range of topics regarding archaeological stone tools and their connection to past human lifeways through experimentation. Controlled experimentation systematically quantifies the empirical relationships among different flaking variables under a controlled and reproducible setting. This approach offers a platform to generate and test hypotheses about the technological decisions of past knappers from the perspective of basic flaking mechanics. Over the past decade, Harold Dibble and colleagues conducted a set of controlled flaking experiments to better understand flake variability using mechanical flaking apparatuses and standardized cores. Results of their studies underscore the dominant impact of exterior platform angle and platform depth on flake size and shape and have led to the synthesis of a flake formation model, namely the EPA-PD model. However, the results also illustrate the complexity of the flake formation process through the influence of other parameters such as core surface morphology and force application. Here we review the work of Dibble and colleagues on controlled flaking experiments by summarizing their findings to date. Our goal is to synthesize what was learned about flake variability from these controlled experiments to better understand the flake formation process. With this paper, we are including all of the data produced by these prior experiments and an explanation of the data in the Supplementary Information.
      PubDate: 2022-11-01
       
  • Life Around the Elephant in Space and Time: an Integrated Approach to
           Study the Human-Elephant Interactions at the Late Lower Paleolithic Site
           of La Polledrara di Cecanibbio (Rome, Italy)

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      Abstract: Abstract During the Lower Paleolithic, the interaction between hominins and elephants through the medium of lithic tools is testified by numerous sites in Africa, Europe, and Asia. This interaction ensured hominins a large source of food and of knappable raw material, bone. The availability of the huge package of resources represented by these animals had a deep impact on hominins behavior and their strategies of exploitation of the landscape. This article, for the first time, documents this behavior with a spatial and chronological viewpoint. At the Late Lower Paleolithic site of La Polledrara di Cecanibbio (Rome), the outstanding in situ find of a quite entire carcass of Palaeoloxodon antiquus surrounded by lithic tools of small dimensions allowed us to explore the relation between the elephant, fatally entrapped in muddy sediments, and the hominins that exploited its carcass with their lithic toolkit. The application of an integrated approach including technology, refitting, use-wear, residues, and spatial analyses to the study of the small tools allowed us to unveil the activities carried out around the elephant in a timeline. As a result, hominins exploited the carcass for meat and fat possibly in more than one time and selected the area of the carcass as an atelier to knap and possibly cache their lithic products for future use. These data introduce the intriguing suggestion that the carcass was, besides a source of food and raw material, also a landmark for humans in the landscape.
      PubDate: 2022-10-24
       
  • A New Approach to the Quantitative Analysis of Bone Surface Modifications:
           the Bowser Road Mastodon and Implications for the Data to Understand
           Human-Megafauna Interactions in North America

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      Abstract: Abstract Toward the end of the Pleistocene, the world experienced a mass extinction of megafauna. In North America these included its proboscideans—the mammoths and mastodons. Researchers in conservation biology, paleontology, and archaeology have debated the role played by human predation in these extinctions. They point to traces of human butchery, such as cut marks and other bone surface modifications (BSM), as evidence of human-animal interactions—including predation and scavenging, between early Americans and proboscideans. However, others have challenged the validity of the butchery evidence observed on several proboscidean assemblages, largely due to questions of qualitative determination of the agent responsible for creating BSM. This study employs a statistical technique that relies on three-dimensional (3D) imaging data and 3D geometric morphometrics to determine the origin of the BSM observed on the skeletal remains of the Bowser Road mastodon (BR mastodon), excavated in Middletown, New York. These techniques have been shown to have high accuracy in identifying and distinguishing among different types of BSM. To better characterize the BSM on the BR mastodon, we compared them quantitatively to experimental BSM resulting from a stone tool chopping experiment using “Arnold,” the force-calibrated chopper. This study suggests that BSM on the BR mastodon are not consistent with the BSM generated by the experimental chopper. Future controlled experiments will compare other types of BSM to those on BR. This research contributes to continued efforts to decrease the uncertainty surrounding human-megafauna associations at the level of the archaeological site and faunal assemblage—specifically that of the BR mastodon assemblage. Consequently, we also contribute to the dialogue surrounding the character of the human-animal interactions between early Americans and Late Pleistocene megafauna, and the role of human foraging behavior in the latter’s extinction.
      PubDate: 2022-10-13
       
  • More than Just Clovis: the Broad Impact of Sampling Bias on Archaeological
           Site Distributions

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      Abstract: Abstract The potential influence of bias long has haunted archaeological practice and discourse. In North America, late Pleistocene fluted-point studies commonly assess the role of sampling, or recovery, bias on site distributions, often with conflicting results. Interestingly, archaeologists rarely examine potential sampling bias on the distributions of later, post-Paleoindian assemblages. In this study, I evaluated how three commonly cited sources of bias in fluted-point research — modern population density, land cover, and research intensity — impacted late Pleistocene through middle Holocene site distributions in the upper Ohio Valley. Results indicate that Paleoindian, Early Archaic, and Late Archaic site locations all positively correlate to areas of dense modern populations, presence of agricultural land, and intensity of research activity. This highlights the conspicuous fact that sampling bias is ubiquitous and affects more than just our oldest assemblages. Since bias is impossible to eliminate entirely from legacy collections, this study proposes two quantitatively simple methods for working with biased datasets: (i) data scaling and (ii) cross-temporal comparison. Data scaling transforms site counts into a ratio to facilitate comparison between analytical units with variable research histories. Cross-temporal comparison relies on the presence of artifacts from one period at find spots to validate the absence of artifacts from additional periods. Application of these approaches reveal several cultural trends, most notably that strong cultural ties existed between the Bluegrass region of the Ohio Valley and the Midsouth during the late Pleistocene with subsequent localization of group interaction during the succeeding Holocene.
      PubDate: 2022-09-24
       
  • The Technological Behaviours of Homo antecessor: Core Management and
           Reduction Intensity at Gran Dolina-TD6.2 (Atapuerca, Spain)

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      Abstract: Abstract The ability of early hominins to overcome the constraints imposed by the characteristics of raw materials used for stone tool production is a key topic on the discussion about the evolution of hominin cognitive capabilities and technical behaviours. Thus, technological variability has been the centrepiece on this debate. However, the variability of lithic assemblages cannot be correctly interpreted without understanding site occupational models and function and considering that individual tools represent specific discard moments in a continuous reduction process. In Europe, the earliest technological record is represented by the scarce and scattered Mode 1 technologies, often deriving from occasional occupations or restricted activity areas yielding unrepresentative assemblages. In this paper, we approach the technological behaviours exhibited by Lower Palaeolithic hominins from the subunit TD6.2 of the Gran Dolina site (Atapuerca, Burgos) by including the perspective of reduction intensity studies on the analysis of technological variability. Gran Dolina TD6.2 is a unique and extremely significant archaeological context, as it represents the oldest multi-layered unit of domestic hominin occupations in the Early Pleistocene of Europe. We use the Volumetric Reconstruction Method (VRM) to estimate the original volume of the blanks and quantify the reduction intensity of each core individually to characterise the reduction distribution patterns using Weibull probability distribution functions. Our results suggest differential raw material management in terms of reduction intensity, according to the characteristics of each lithology. This could reflect a solid understanding of raw material qualities and a certain degree of planning. Altogether, the continuity between knapping strategies through reduction denotes constant adaptation to raw material constraints as well as particular knapping conditions, rather than specific compartmentalised mental schemes. In conclusion, Homo antecessor toolmakers would have been situational knappers whose technological behaviour would be highly adaptive. This research constitutes the first reduction approach for the European Early Pleistocene assemblages that will lead to a referential framework for other European Early Pleistocene sites.
      PubDate: 2022-09-22
      DOI: 10.1007/s10816-022-09579-1
       
  • Dots on the Map: Issues in the Archaeological Analysis of Site Locations

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      Abstract: Abstract The analysis of site locations is an important component of archaeological research. Recent advances in this topic include the use of ecological models such as the ideal free distribution and its variants, which predict site locations under various conditions in relation to criteria that promote the greatest adaptive success. Such models can face problems in determining such criteria and especially their relative importance. Another approach, which can be used in conjunction with these models, uses the concept of decision trees to infer the relative ranking and the hierarchy of the role of different criteria in the actual locational decisions underlying site placement. Examples from ethnography and European archaeology demonstrate this approach and additionally allow the consideration of another issue, the contexts in which site function and location are likely to be strongly correlated.
      PubDate: 2022-09-15
      DOI: 10.1007/s10816-022-09580-8
       
  • A Journey Begins with a Single Step: How Early Holocene Humans and Wild
           Boar (Sus scrofa) Embarked on the Pathway to Domestication in the Eastern
           Fertile Crescent

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      Abstract: Abstract Analysis of a large assemblage of Sus scrofa remains from Hallan Çemi, an Early Holocene (c. 11,700 BP) site in southeastern Turkey, provides new insights into pre-domestication patterns of human harvesting and management of this important species. Harvest profiles resulting from a range of documented hunting and herding strategies, when combined with new methods for demographic profiling, reveal emergent mutualisms between humans and wild boar that set the stage for active management. As local wild boar populations began taking advantage of increasingly anthropogenically altered environments around Hallan Çemi, humans developed procurement strategies that both increased harvest yields and helped sustain population levels of S. scrofa. The evolution of these strategies into more active management at later sites in the region is also traced. New methods for detecting morphological change in S. scrofa over the c. 300 year occupation of Hallan Çemi show that lower molars underwent size change. Metric data from 18 contemporary and later sites reveals the differential impacts of emergent domestication on different S. scrofa skeletal elements over a 4000-year period. Taxonomic and part distributional data highlight the increasing importance of S. scrofa in feasting activities at Hallan Çemi over time. We conclude that feasting and other community-enhancing activities at Hallan Çemi worked together with increasing engagement in niche modification to promote the level of cohesion and material support needed to sustain a sedentary community over the longue durée and to create the sustained interactions needed for domestication.
      PubDate: 2022-09-15
      DOI: 10.1007/s10816-022-09576-4
       
  • Identifying the Impact of Soil Ingestion on Dental Microwear Textures
           Using a Wild Boar Experimental Model

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      Abstract: Abstract Dental microwear has been widely used to reconstruct mammals’ past diet and to understand their dental evolution. In archaeology, it can help reconstruct anthropogenic herd-feeding systems. However, deciphering the impact of exogenous mineral particles on dental wear is an ongoing challenge since studies have shown that soil ingestion can generates microwear traces that interfere with the dietary signals. To bridge this gap, this study relies on the first large-scale controlled-food experiment on wild boars (Sus scrofa) to test how soil ingestion can affect the dietary signal recorded in dental microwear. It provides the opportunity to investigate the impact of natural soil ingestion over microwear traces by comparing penned boars that were able to root with stalled boars that were not. We performed 3D Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) on 22 controlled-fed boars kept captive either in an indoor stall with no soil ingestion, or in a wooded pen with natural soil ingestion. We analysed shearing and crushing facets on upper and lower first and second molars using standard texture parameters. We also conducted particle size distribution analyses of the ingested soil. In line with previous works, the consumption of exogenous abrasives in rooting boars leads to less rough, less complex and more anisotropic wear surfaces than in stall-fed boars, even though they received the same diet. Thus, we highly recommend studying DMT when investigating ancient pig husbandry systems, particularly local changes in food management. Overall, this study contributes to a better comprehension of how exogenous abrasives impact DMT among mammals.
      PubDate: 2022-09-10
      DOI: 10.1007/s10816-022-09574-6
       
  • Water Flows and Water Accumulations on Bedrock as a Structuring Element of
           Rock Art

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      Abstract: Abstract The paper proposes a new method to quantify the flow of water and water accumulation zones on bedrock panels. This can be used to investigate how water influences the placement of rock art. The analysis is based on photogrammetric models on which water flows and accumulations were modelled using a NetLogo simulation and the SAGA hydrology package. To test the hypothesis that water was a structuring element in the creation of rock art, case studies of Bohus-granite panels from south-western Sweden were used. The described approach should be possible to use on most rock art placed on bedrock panels regardless of rock type, its state of cleaning, or present microfauna. The modelling of water flows and accumulations is a powerful tool to compare the image placement and image density in relation to water even on widely separated panels on which such observations cannot be made directly.
      PubDate: 2022-09-07
      DOI: 10.1007/s10816-022-09578-2
       
  • Correction to: (Sea)ways of Perception: an Integrated
           Maritime‑Terrestrial Approach to Modelling Prehistoric Seafaring

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      PubDate: 2022-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10816-021-09543-5
       
  • Investigating Isotopic Niche Space: Using rKIN for Stable Isotope Studies
           in Archaeology

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      Abstract: Abstract Archaeological applications of stable isotope data have become increasingly prevalent, and the use of these data continues to expand rapidly. Researchers are starting to find that recovering data for multiple elements provides additional insight and quantitative data for answering questions about past human activities and behaviors. Many stable isotope studies in archaeology, however, rarely move beyond comparisons of descriptive statistics such as mean, median, and standard deviation. Over the last decade, ecologists have formalized the concept of isotopic niche space, and corresponding isotopic niche overlap, to incorporate data from two or more isotopic systems into a single analysis. Additionally, several methods for quantifying isotopic niche space and overlap are now available. Here, I describe the evolution of the isotopic niche space concept and demonstrate the usefulness of it for archaeological research through three case studies using the recently developed rKIN package that allows for a comparison of different methods of isotopic niche space and overlap estimations. Two case studies apply these new measures to previously published studies, while a third case study illustrates its applicability to exploring new hypotheses and research directions. The benefits and limitations of quantifying isotopic niche space and overlap are discussed, as well as suggestions for data reporting and transparency when using these methods. Isotopic niche space and overlap metrics will allow archaeologists to extract more nuanced information from stable isotope datasets in their drive to understand more fully the histories of the human conditions.
      PubDate: 2022-09-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10816-021-09541-7
       
 
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