Before Farming

Economic adaptations during the Late Glacial in northern Spain: a simulation approach

Before Farming (2009), 2009, (2), 1–18.

Abstract

The archaeozoological record provides direct evidence of the subsistence strategies of ancient groups, and thus can be used to test hypotheses about cultural and economic human evolution. Along the Cantabrian coast (northern Spain) the shift from the specialised procurement of high-ranked prey to more diversified resource exploitation during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition has traditionally been explained from two contrasting points of view. On the one hand, the demographic theory proposes the progressive growth of human population and its energetic requirements as the determining factor. On the other hand, the environmental theory argues that climatic amelioration and resulting reforestation were the primary cause. To study this phenomenon in detail a mathematical model has been created to simultaneously simulate ungulate population dynamics and their environmental and demographic stochasticity, the effects of topography on resource allocation, and human foraging behaviour in terms of prey choice. The results corroborate the demographic argument.

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Arroyo, Ana