External impacts on internal dynamics: Effects of paleoclimatic and demographic variability on acorn exploitation along the Central California coast

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Publication Type book chapter
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Antrhopology
Research Institute University of Utah
Creator Codding, Brian F.
Other Author Jones, Terry L.
Title External impacts on internal dynamics: Effects of paleoclimatic and demographic variability on acorn exploitation along the Central California coast
Date 2016
Description Research into human-environment interaction in California prehistory often focuses on either the internal dynamics of adaptive decisions or the external impacts of environmental change. While both processes were surely driving prehistoric variability, integrating these approaches is not altogether straightforward. Here we outline an inclusive approach examining the exploitation of acorn habitats in Central California. Acorns were critically important to many ethnographic groups in Native California, but the intensive use of acorns appears to be a Late Holocene phenomenon. Most research approaches the increased reliance on acorns as a process governed by internal dynamics linked to demographically-driven resource intensification, but there are strong reasons to believe that climatic variability also structured acorn use. Here we link internal and external human-environmental dynamics through a formal behavioral ecological model. This model provides clear predictions that can be used to identify departures from expected internal dynamics linked to external factors driven by paleoenvironmental change. Results show that prehistoric occupation along the central California coast shifts into interior oak-dominated regions with increasing population densities, consistent with model expectations of internally-driven resource intensification. However, acorn use is also affected by climate: foragers are less likely to live in productive acorn habitats during periods of drought. These findings show that neither internal nor external patterns can completely account for variability in prehistoric decisions, but that integrating these through formal ecological models can provide insights into the external impacts on internal dynamics that structure broad patterns in prehistory.
Type Text
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Journal Title The Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions: Strategies for Investigating Anthropogenic Landscapes, Dynamic Environments, and Climate Change in the Human Past
First Page 195
Last Page 210
Subject Acorn exploitation; Prehistoric land use; Behavioral ecology
Language eng
Inbook Title The Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions: Strategies for Investigating Anthropogenic Landscapes, Dynamic Environments, and Climate Change in the Human Past
Bibliographic Citation Codding, Brian F. and Terry L. Jones (2016) External Impacts on Internal Dynamics: Effects of Paleoclimatic and Demographic Variability on Acorn Exploitation along the Central California Coast. In Contreras, D. (ed), The Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions: Strategies for Investigating Anthropogenic Landscapes, Dynamic Environments, and Climate Change in the Human Past, pp 195-210. Routledge, Oxford
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6bc82t1
Setname ir_uspace
Date Created 2018-05-24
Date Modified 2018-05-24
ID 1326542
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6bc82t1