Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 143–189

Evolutionary Foraging Models in Zooarchaeological Analysis: Recent Applications and Future Challenges

Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10814-007-9011-1

Cite this article as:
Lupo, K.D. J Archaeol Res (2007) 15: 143. doi:10.1007/s10814-007-9011-1


The last few decades have witnessed a rapid rise in the use of foraging models derived from behavioral ecology to explain and predict temporal and spatial differences in faunal assemblages. Although these models build on conventional ideas about utility firmly embedded in zooarchaeological analyses, when cast in an evolutionary framework these ideas produce some of the most sophisticated and elegant interpretations of archaeofaunas to date. In this article I review the methodological and practical strengths and weaknesses of current zooarchaeological applications of foraging models. Recent applications of foraging models to the zooarchaeological record reveal important variability in human-prey interactions across time and space. Case-specific applications generate theoretical and methodological advances that augment and are complementary to model building in allied fields. Recent applications also identify shortcomings in the underlying assumptions and rationale of some foraging models that mirror past and on-going discussions in anthropology and biology. I discuss how these shortcomings can fruitfully direct future applications and research in foraging economics.


ZooarchaeologyForaging modelsBehavioral ecology

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA