Mobility-driven cultural transmission along the forager-collector continuum

Charles Perreault, P. Jeffrey Brantingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hunter-gatherers mobility regimes are often treated as discrete adaptive strategies. Here we present a model of forager mobility which treats collectors and foragers as two ends of a continuous spectrum. We show that a mobility regime can be situated along this spectrum by specifying the number of foraging moves a group makes before returning to its home base. The model allows us to explore the behavioural space between forager (i.e. residential mobility) and collector (logistical mobility) adaptations. We discuss the heuristic value of the model by showing how it can be used to make testable predictions about the impact of mobility strategies on archaeological measures such as occupation intensity and raw-material transportation distance. We then use the model to investigate the impact of mobility on rates of cultural transmission. We show that mobility-driven cultural transmission may be equivalent to a Poisson process and that the time it takes for a cultural behaviour to be transmitted between two mobile groups is optimized when the mobility regime is somewhere between pure forager and pure collectors adaptations. In addition, we find that rates of cultural transmission decline in a very regular way, as the inverse of the square root of the number of moves made before returning to home base. This suggests that there is a mechanistic connection between the mean-squared displacement of hunter-gatherers in space and the transmission of cultural traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Raw materials
cultural behavior
Foragers
Cultural Transmission
Collectors
raw materials
heuristics
occupation
Group
Hunter-gatherers
Regular
Raw Materials
Prediction
Mobility Strategies
Residential Mobility
Foraging
Heuristics
Archaeology
time

Keywords

  • Central place foraging
  • Cultural transmission
  • Human evolution
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Levy flight
  • Lithics
  • Logistic mobility
  • Mean-squared displacement
  • Poisson process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Archaeology

Cite this

Mobility-driven cultural transmission along the forager-collector continuum. / Perreault, Charles; Brantingham, P. Jeffrey.

In: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Vol. 30, No. 1, 03.2011, p. 62-68.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{7d15b2d1fee5433cbd2b525dad6312d0,
title = "Mobility-driven cultural transmission along the forager-collector continuum",
abstract = "Hunter-gatherers mobility regimes are often treated as discrete adaptive strategies. Here we present a model of forager mobility which treats collectors and foragers as two ends of a continuous spectrum. We show that a mobility regime can be situated along this spectrum by specifying the number of foraging moves a group makes before returning to its home base. The model allows us to explore the behavioural space between forager (i.e. residential mobility) and collector (logistical mobility) adaptations. We discuss the heuristic value of the model by showing how it can be used to make testable predictions about the impact of mobility strategies on archaeological measures such as occupation intensity and raw-material transportation distance. We then use the model to investigate the impact of mobility on rates of cultural transmission. We show that mobility-driven cultural transmission may be equivalent to a Poisson process and that the time it takes for a cultural behaviour to be transmitted between two mobile groups is optimized when the mobility regime is somewhere between pure forager and pure collectors adaptations. In addition, we find that rates of cultural transmission decline in a very regular way, as the inverse of the square root of the number of moves made before returning to home base. This suggests that there is a mechanistic connection between the mean-squared displacement of hunter-gatherers in space and the transmission of cultural traits.",
keywords = "Central place foraging, Cultural transmission, Human evolution, Hunter-gatherers, Levy flight, Lithics, Logistic mobility, Mean-squared displacement, Poisson process",
author = "Charles Perreault and Brantingham, {P. Jeffrey}",
year = "2011",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1016/j.jaa.2010.10.003",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "30",
pages = "62--68",
journal = "Journal of Anthropological Archaeology",
issn = "0278-4165",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Mobility-driven cultural transmission along the forager-collector continuum

AU - Perreault, Charles

AU - Brantingham, P. Jeffrey

PY - 2011/3

Y1 - 2011/3

N2 - Hunter-gatherers mobility regimes are often treated as discrete adaptive strategies. Here we present a model of forager mobility which treats collectors and foragers as two ends of a continuous spectrum. We show that a mobility regime can be situated along this spectrum by specifying the number of foraging moves a group makes before returning to its home base. The model allows us to explore the behavioural space between forager (i.e. residential mobility) and collector (logistical mobility) adaptations. We discuss the heuristic value of the model by showing how it can be used to make testable predictions about the impact of mobility strategies on archaeological measures such as occupation intensity and raw-material transportation distance. We then use the model to investigate the impact of mobility on rates of cultural transmission. We show that mobility-driven cultural transmission may be equivalent to a Poisson process and that the time it takes for a cultural behaviour to be transmitted between two mobile groups is optimized when the mobility regime is somewhere between pure forager and pure collectors adaptations. In addition, we find that rates of cultural transmission decline in a very regular way, as the inverse of the square root of the number of moves made before returning to home base. This suggests that there is a mechanistic connection between the mean-squared displacement of hunter-gatherers in space and the transmission of cultural traits.

AB - Hunter-gatherers mobility regimes are often treated as discrete adaptive strategies. Here we present a model of forager mobility which treats collectors and foragers as two ends of a continuous spectrum. We show that a mobility regime can be situated along this spectrum by specifying the number of foraging moves a group makes before returning to its home base. The model allows us to explore the behavioural space between forager (i.e. residential mobility) and collector (logistical mobility) adaptations. We discuss the heuristic value of the model by showing how it can be used to make testable predictions about the impact of mobility strategies on archaeological measures such as occupation intensity and raw-material transportation distance. We then use the model to investigate the impact of mobility on rates of cultural transmission. We show that mobility-driven cultural transmission may be equivalent to a Poisson process and that the time it takes for a cultural behaviour to be transmitted between two mobile groups is optimized when the mobility regime is somewhere between pure forager and pure collectors adaptations. In addition, we find that rates of cultural transmission decline in a very regular way, as the inverse of the square root of the number of moves made before returning to home base. This suggests that there is a mechanistic connection between the mean-squared displacement of hunter-gatherers in space and the transmission of cultural traits.

KW - Central place foraging

KW - Cultural transmission

KW - Human evolution

KW - Hunter-gatherers

KW - Levy flight

KW - Lithics

KW - Logistic mobility

KW - Mean-squared displacement

KW - Poisson process

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=78951492023&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=78951492023&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jaa.2010.10.003

DO - 10.1016/j.jaa.2010.10.003

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:78951492023

VL - 30

SP - 62

EP - 68

JO - Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

JF - Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

SN - 0278-4165

IS - 1

ER -