Population Dynamics and Warfare in the Central Mesa Verde Region

Sarah M. Cole

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:
Population Dynamics and Warfare in the Central Mesa Verde Region

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The relationship between population size or density and warfare has been the subject of much debate in anthropological research. In 2006 Peter Turchin and Andrey Korotayev raised the possibility that these two variables have a dynamic, time-lagged interaction that was not typically taken into account by previous analyses. Here we examine this possibility using population size data from the VEP and data on sociopolitical instability (or warfare) for the central Mesa Verde region collected by Cole during thesis research. The Turchin-Korotayev model fits the first population cycle reasonably well, but its failure in the second population cycle is probably due to the subsumption of the VEP area under the Chaco polity during much of this period. The high levels of violence during portions of this recordstrongly suggest that future versions of Village should simulatethe causes and effects of warfare on VEP agents, adding significantly to our understanding of prehistoric lifeways in the central Mesa Verde region and beyond.

Keywords: warfare; conflict; population size; instability; dynamic models; violence; Chaco; Village Ecodynamics Project

Chapter.  9196 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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