The Archaeology of Group Size

Matt Grove

in Social Brain, Distributed Mind

Published by British Academy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264522
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734724 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Archaeology of Group Size

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This chapter aims to summarize the results of recent research producing estimates of hominin range areas, population sizes, and land use patterns based on archaeological data. Estimates of such variables are essential to any geographic or demographic discussion of human evolution, yet at present no generally applicable quantitative method is available to link them to the often abundant data of the archaeological record. Such data offer a unique window onto the patterns of adaptation characterizing prehistoric human populations, and developing a generic method to describe trajectories of change will allow researchers to compare range areas, population sizes and land use patterns between different regions and periods from throughout the vast spatio-temporal range of human evolution. The discussion gives particular emphasis to estimating a trajectory of group size through time from shortly after 2 million years ago until approximately 14,000 years ago.

Keywords: prehistoric human populations; hominin range; human evolution; archaeology; group size

Chapter.  7894 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychology

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