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MODELING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SPACE, MOVEMENT, AND LITHIC GEOMETRIC ATTRIBUTES

  • Benjamin Davies (a1), Simon J. Holdaway (a1) (a2) and Patricia C. Fanning (a3)
Abstract

Evidence for changes in human mobility is fundamental to interpretations of transitions in human socioeconomic organization. Showing changes in mobility requires both archaeological proxies that are sensitive to movement and a clear understanding of how different mobility configurations influence their patterning. This study uses computer simulation to explore how different combinations of reduction, selection, transport, and discard of stone artifacts generate patterning in the “cortex ratio,” a geometric proxy used to demonstrate movement at the assemblage level. A case study from western New South Wales, Australia, shows how cortex ratios are used to make inferences about movement. Results of the exploratory simulation show that redundancy in movement between discards reduces variability in cortex ratios, while mean assemblage values can be attributed to the relative proportions of artifacts carried into and out of the assemblages. These results suggest that raw material availability is a potentially crucial factor in determining what kinds of mobility are visible in assemblages, whereby different access to raw material can shift the balance of import and export of stone in an otherwise undirected movement configuration. These findings are used to contextualize distributions of cortex ratios from the raw material–rich study area, prompting suggestions for further fieldwork.

Las evidencias sobre cambios en la movilidad humana constituyen un dato fundamental para desarrollar interpretaciones sobre los procesos de transición en la organización socioeconómica de lo grupos humanos. La identificación de cambios en la movilidad requiere tanto de indicadores arqueológicos que reflejan el movimiento de grupos humanos como de un entendimiento claro de la influencia de diferentes configuraciones de movilidad sobre los patrones generados por las mismas. El presente estudio utiliza software de simulación computacional para explorar cómo diferentes combinaciones de reducción, selección, transporte y desecho de artefactos líticos generan distintos patrones en la proporción de córtex, medida geométrica utilizada como índice de movimiento a nivel del conjunto lítico. El presente estudio fue realizado con base en datos provenientes del oeste de la región de New South Wales en Australia, y muestra cómo se pueden utilizar las proporciones de córtex para generar inferencias sobre la movilidad. Los resultados de simulaciones exploratorias muestran que la redundancia en el movimiento humano con respecto a las actividades de desecho reduce la variabilidad en las proporciones de córtex, mientras que los valores promedio pueden ser atribuidos a las proporciones relativas de artefactos ingresados o eliminados de los conjuntos líticos. Estos resultados sugieren que la disponibilidad de materias primas es un factor potencialmente crucial para determinar qué tipos de movilidad pueden detectarse a partir de un conjunto lítico, pues diferentes tipos de acceso a las materias primas pueden desplazar el equilibrio entre importación y exportación de materiales líticos, en una configuración que de otra forma se presentaría como resultado de movilidad aleatoria. Se emplean estos resultados para contextualizar la distribución de las proporciones de córtex provenientes del área de estudio, la cual es rica en materias primas, y permite elaborar sugerencias para futuros trabajos de campo.

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Corresponding author
(b.davies@auckland.ac.nz, corresponding author)
References
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