Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 143–189 | Cite as

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

Original paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Zooarchaeology Foraging models Behavioral ecology 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Dave Schmitt for reading and editing earlier versions of this article, producing the figures, and providing inspirational support. I thank Don Grayson for sharing his views on extinction during a rambling phone call on a rainy afternoon last year. The anonymous reviewers provided very helpful comments that greatly enhanced this article. It is impossible for me to adequately cite all of the recent anthropological research in human behavioral ecology. I therefore refer interested readers to the very complete and useful online bibliography by Kermyt Anderson found at http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/A/Kermyt.G.Anderson-1/HBE/. I thank Kermyt for allowing me to cite this bibliography.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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