Before Farming

A behavioural ecological approach to a proposed middle Holocene occupational gap

Before Farming (2008), 2008, (2), 1–14.

Abstract

Relative to other periods, there are very few recorded sites of middle Holocene age in Mendoza Province, Argentina. This analysis weighs the preliminary results of a regional study in Mendoza against three possible explanations for the small number of middle Holocene sites: poor visibility, reduced population density and behavioural adaptation. While changes in visibility and population density cannot be dismissed, evidence suggests that the scarcity of mid-Holocene sites in Mendoza reflects changed patterns of land and resource use triggered by climate change. Archaeological data from the region fit the predictions of Charnov's marginal value theorem and a cost-benefit model of lithic procurement, and suggest that hunter-gatherer groups curtailed their mobility during the middle Holocene, producing a more cryptic archaeological record.

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Garvey, Raven