Central-place foraging by humans: transport and processing

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Abstract

The Darwinian approach to behavior generates models that are widely used by anthropologists and archeologists. In this paper, I concentrate on a particular group of models based on cases in which a forager (or group of foragers) brings resources to a location known as a central place. I examine two topics in detail: (1) the economics of transporting a load to the central place, and (2) the extent to which items should be processed before they are brought back to the central place. In addition to presenting new results and bringing out common themes in archeology and behavioral ecology, I discuss problems with some of the models that have been used in archeology and offer suggestions for further work.

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