Journal article Open Access

Man the hunted: determinants of household spacing in desert and tropical foraging societies. J of Anthropol Archaeol 6:77-103

Gould, Richard A.; Yellen, John E.

Controlled comparisons of ethnographic Western Desert Australian Aborigine and !Kung San campsites reveal significant differences in mean distances between households as well as differences in campsite areas based on nearest neighbor analysis. In terms of campsite areas in m2/person, the Aborigines space themselves over areas many times greater than the !Kung. A review of alternative hypotheses to account for these differences supports a combination of kin-ties and larger campsite areas/person to explain the variance, while the gross overall differences in spacing households are structured primarily by the relative effects of predation pressure, which is inversely proportional to both mean distances between households and campsite areas in m2/person. Some trial comparisons with other ethnographic cases are offered, along with test implications for archaeology.

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