2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Population Density Thresholds in the Design of Houses Among Hunter-Gatherers
Arthur W. Harrill
Dr. Amber Johnson, Faculty Mentor

Prior research by Binford (1990) has shown that the structure of houses among hunter-gatherers is conditioned by environmental factors, subsistence specialty, and population density. By controlling for these factors, archaeologists can use the remains of houses to infer the population density of an extinct group. To ensure the accuracy of such inferences, ethnographic data from 339 hunter gatherer cases was consulted. Cases were grouped by effective temperature, and these groups were subdivided by environmental variables and searched within these divisions for density thresholds relating to structure shape, roofing material, wall material, roof shape, and floor level. For a given house type in a given environment, while the results do not yield exact estimates of population density, these thresholds reduce the range of likely densities.

Keywords: House Design, Hunter-Gatherers, Population Density, Housing, Anthropology, Archaeology

Topic(s):Sociology/Anthropology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 60-75
Location: OP Lobby and Atrium
Time: 4:15

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