Chapter

Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages in the Central Mesa Verde

Timothy A. Kohler and Mark D. Varien

in Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780520270145
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951990 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520270145.003.0001
Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages in the Central Mesa Verde

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The National Science Foundation-funded Village Ecodynamics Project organizes data on the sizes and locations of Pueblo archaeological sites within a 1,817-sq-km portion of southwestern Colorado. The expansion of farmers in this area between AD 600 and 1280 is an example of a worldwide process known as the Neolithic Demographic Transition. We compare the settlement patterns created by these farmers, known through archaeological research, with simulated patterns generated by computerized agents on virtual landscapes (representing households) as the agents attempt to get enough maize, meat, wood, and water to survive under changing climatic circumstances. This will allow us to assess how relevant the concepts of adaptation and optimality are to understanding the changes seen in settlement patterns through time.

Keywords: archaeological research; simulation; settlement patterns; adaptation; optimality; socionatural research; biocomplexity; Neolithic Demographic Transition; Village Ecodynamics Project

Chapter.  8411 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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