The Prehistory of the Theory of Distributions

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Through an analysis of stylistic and technological attributes of southwestern ceramics, one paper notes that inferring exchange on the basis of stylistic similarity does not always lead to a simple correlation between stylistic distributions and patterns of material exchange. The collection can prove beneficial for archaeologists, anthropologist, sociologists, and researchers interested in the pre-history of the Old World or New World. We are always looking for ways to improve customer experience on Elsevier.

We would like to ask you for a moment of your time to fill in a short questionnaire, at the end of your visit. If you decide to participate, a new browser tab will open so you can complete the survey after you have completed your visit to this website. Thanks in advance for your time. Skip to content. Search for books, journals or webpages All Pages Books Journals. View on ScienceDirect. Imprint: Academic Press. Cynthia J. Greg J. Mark S. Bin Jiang, Editor. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Received Jun 22; Accepted Sep This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly credited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. S1 Dataset: Artifact count and site area data. S1 Code: R code used to analyze data. S1 Table: Numerical results of power analysis for artifact-count data.

S2 Table: Numerical results of power analysis for site-area data. Abstract Settlement size predicts extreme variation in the rates and magnitudes of many social and ecological processes in human societies. Introduction Extreme settlement-size variation predicts extreme variation in the rates and magnitudes of many social and ecological processes in human societies including the rates and magnitudes of technological innovation, disease transmission, crime, and wealth [ 1 — 8 ].

Materials and Methods To test the hypothesis of power-law structure in hunter-gatherer settlement-size variation, we examine the size distribution of prehistoric archaeological sites in hunter-gatherer settlement systems. Open in a separate window. Fig 1. Geographic locations of prehistoric settlement systems examined in this study. Fig 2. Examples of temporally diagnostic projectile points. Measuring Settlement Size We use two archaeologically tractable metrics of settlement size—artifact count and areal extent.

Power-law Analysis of Settlement-Size Variation Each dataset is analyzed in six steps in an effort to reject the hypothesis of power-law scaling. Results For the discrete artifact-count data, CMF plots reveal clear log-linearity in all datasets suggesting power-law statistical structure Fig 3. Fig 3.

Cumulative mass function plots for artifact-per-site counts discrete data. Table 1 MLE parameters and goodness-of-fit results for artifact count data. Fig 4. Summary of model-selection results for empirical datasets. Fig 5. Results of power analysis for artifact-count discrete data. Fig 6. Cumulative density function plots for site-area continuous data. Table 2 MLE parameters and goodness-of-fit results for site area data. Fig 7. Results of power analysis for site-area continuous data. Discussion On one hand, previous research on agricultural and state-organized societies has suggested that power-law scaling of settlement-size variation is a property of complex, hierarchical socioeconomic processes, which tend to be absent among hunter-gatherer societies.

A Preferential Attachment Model of Forager Mobility We briefly consider a candidate model here to offer a potential guide for future research. Implications of the Working Model The preferential attachment model of forager mobility holds a number of anthropological implications, and we briefly consider several here including implications for archaeological site formation, settlement-size variation in diverse environmental contexts, and self-organization of settlement-size hierarchies in human societies.

Supporting Information S1 Specimens Archaeological specimens. CSV Click here for additional data file. S1 Dataset Artifact count and site area data. TXT Click here for additional data file. S1 Code R code used to analyze data. ZIP Click here for additional data file. S1 Table Numerical results of power analysis for artifact-count data. PDF Click here for additional data file. S2 Table Numerical results of power analysis for site-area data. Data Availability All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

References 1. Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities. Proc Natl Acad Sci. Urban scaling and its deviations: revealing the structure of wealth, innovation and crime across cities. Global trends in emerging infectious diseases. Shennan S. Population, culture history, and the dynamics of culture change. Curr Anthropol. Carneiro RL. The transition from quantity to quality: a neglected causal mechanism in accounting for social evolution.

Bandy MS. Fissioning, scalar stress, and social evolution in early village societies. Am Anthropol. Alberti G. Modeling group size and scalar stress by logistic regression from an archaeological perspective. Crema ER. A simulation model of fission—fusion dynamics and long-term settlement change. J Archaeol Method Theory. Gershenson C, Fernandez N. Complexity and information: measuring emergence, self-organization, and homeostasis at multiple scales. Batty M.

The size, scale, and shape of cities. Krugman P. The self-organizing economy. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers; Adamic L. Newman MEJ.

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Contemp Phys. Global patterns of city size distributions and their fundamental drivers. The broken past: fractals in archaeology. Christaller W. Central places in southern Germany. Englewood Cliffs N. Flannery KV. Archaic states. Johnson GA. Rank-size convexity and system integration: a view from archaeology. Econ Geogr. The fractal geometry of ancient Maya settlement.

J Archaeol Sci. Stanish C. Ancient Titicaca: The evolution of complex society in southern Peru and northern Bolivia. Berkeley: University of California Press; Comparing archaeological settlement systems with rank-size graphs: a measure of shape and statistical confidence.

The spatial economy: cities, regions and international trade. Cambridge, Mass. Ames KM.


Handbook of Archaeological Theories. AltaMira Press; Zipf GK. Human behavior and the principle of least effort: an introduction to human ecology. Cambridge: Addison-Wesley Press; Paynter R. Models of spatial inequality: settlement patterns in historical archeology. New York: Academic Press; Richardson H. Theory of the distribution of city sizes: Review and prospects. Reg Stud. Power-law distributions in empirical data. SIAM Rev. Inomata T, Aoyama K.

Central-place analyses in the La Entrada region, Honduras: implications for understanding the classic Maya political and economic systems. Lat Am Antiq. Wright HT. Recent research on the origin of the state. Annu Rev Anthropol. Communities, settlements, sites, and surveys: regional-scale analysis of prehistoric human interaction. Am Antiq. Andean archaeology.

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New York: Springer; Scaling in animal group-size distributions. The complex structure of hunter-gatherer social networks.

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Hum Ecol. Grove M. Kelly RL. The foraging spectrum: diversity in hunter-gatherer lifeways. New York: Percheron Press; Wobst HM. The archaeo-ethnology of hunter-gatherers or the tyranny of the ethnographic record in archaeology. Chauchat C. Loendorf CR. Loendorf CR, Rice G.

Winterhalder B, Thomas RB. Geoecology of southern highland Peru: a human adaptation perspective. Chungara Rev Antropol Chil. Klink CJ. Advances in Titicaca Basin Archaeology Aldenderfer MS. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press; Moseley ME.

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The pre-history of urban scaling.

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Yellen J. For the Atacama Desert, the problem is reduced because of the generally lower diversity of animals that are indigenous to the region. In general, when coprolites are well preserved, it is possible to distinguish human feces from non-human feces with 2 exceptions. In all research areas, dogs produce feces that can be confused with human feces.

In Arizona, feces from javalina Tayassu tajacu and Tayassu pecari can be confused with humans. Up to now, only by analysis of fecal constituents, such as hair and dietary residue, can coprolites from these species be differentiated with confidence from those of humans.

The Prehistoric Era

For coprolite analysis, it is important to diversify samples from archaeological sites [ 1 — 3 ]. For our purposes, context is especially important. Context refers to the archaeological location of finds in association with distinct prehistoric constructions, such as houses, burials, trash pits, latrines, plazas, etc.

Considering the nature of proveniences and features is especially important for our work and generally we work with field notes or forms if we cannot be present in the field. It is desirable for the paleoepidemiological approach to maximize the diversity of our samples to ensure that as many separate defecations as possible are included in the study. This minimizes the possibility of sampling several defecations by 1 prehistoric individual over a short period of time.

At some sites, many features contain feces. At such sites, it is best to analyze small samples of coprolites from as many features as possible. In this way, one is likely to sample a series of defecations by many individuals. At other sites, large latrines were used for many years. Such features may contain hundreds to thousands of coprolites. If possible, it is good to have first-hand experience at such sites. For example, Salmon Ruin, New Mexico, had such a latrine [ 5 ]. Examination of the latrine stratigraphy showed that the coprolites were concentrated in stratigraphic lenses.

These typically represent single deposits made by prehistoric people. At Salmon Ruin, the lenses were about the volume of a prehistoric basket. This indicated that feces were brought to the latrine from other rooms in household containers. Ideally, the sampling strategy would have been to sample a coprolite from each lens. However, this was not done in the field. Therefore, to diversify the sample as much as possible, coprolites were sampled from alternate units in every other grid square. Since the site was excavated in 1 m horizontal grid squares in 10 cm vertical levels, the sampling strategy ensured that as many lenses as possible were sampled.

Sample diversity for such sites can be obtained by taking samples from as many strata as possible. In northeastern Brazil, Peru, and Chile, open sites sites not in caves are most common. Interesting defecation patterns are found in these regions. Sometimes, discrete coprolite aggregations are associated with specific features. In Peru and Chile, this includes latrines associated with house features.

Therefore, sampling several latrines diversifies the sample. In shell mounds large accumulations of shell, burials, and activity refuse , coprolites are found dispersed in the refuse. At 1 site, Paloma, near Lima, Peru, the coprolites were frequently found in large bivalves [ 8 ]. At this site, coprolites were sampled from a variety of diverse proveniences, including the refuse areas, distinct strata, house floors, and burials. At another shell mound, the Ring Site, near Ilo, Peru, distinct, small lenses about 6 inches were found in stratigraphic sections of the site [ 9 , 10 ].

Each lens was derived from an individual coprolite. The lenses were sampled and their constituents were consistent with ancient feces of mummies from the area. Unfortunately, the Ring Site, the oldest site on the coast of southern Peru, was largely destroyed by construction [ 10 ]. Ideally, optimal diversity can be obtained by sampling mummies and burials. Fecal residue can be found in skeletons [ 1 — 3 ] and mummies contain fecal pellets that can be recovered and analyzed.

One can be sure that coprolites recovered from mummies or skeletons are: 1 from humans, and 2 represent discrete infections if parasites are found. Therefore, they can be used in a comparative sense to evaluate variance in infection. Not all coprolites exhibit comparable preservation [ 11 , 12 ]. The preservation of coprolites can be assessed by examining the range of identifiable macroscopic and microscopic components. Macroscopic components typically include seeds, fibers, bone, chitin exoskeleton, charcoal, leaves, fruit skin, and woody tissue.

Microscopic components include starch granules, pollen grains, silica phytoliths, calcium oxalate phytoliths, mites, hair, seed testa fragments, plant cells, nematode larvae, parasite eggs, and fungal spores [ 2 ]. By assessing the diversity of components present, one can assess the level of preservation and therefore the potential loss of parasite eggs and larvae. Coprolites from cave contexts are most often well-preserved with even the most delicate remains preserved.

In contrast, coprolites from open sites exhibit less consistent preservation. In assessing the reliability of parasitology results, one must consider the preservation conditions of the coprolites [ 11 , 12 ]. For pinworms, preservation can be highly variable.

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In rare cases, fragments of adult worms are found. Generally, eggs containing larvae are recovered. From archaeological sites that are not established in caves, eggs are more often recovered in fragmentary condition. The archaeological sites for which parasitological studies have been conducted were never summarized in a single article. Dating has been converted to the Before Present B. By archaeological and geological convention, January 1, is the modern reference point for this scale.

Callen and Cameron [ 13 ] examined several coprolites from Huaca Prieta, Peru, including coprolites from the intestinal cavity of a burial dating to approximately 4, years ago by radiocarbon technique. The exact number of coprolites analyzed was not published in this pioneer study. At least 1 sample was recovered from a burial. The site was occupied by hunter-gatherers with a mixed diet of terrestrial plants and marine animals. The coprolites were recovered from a cave and exhibited good preservation.

No pinworm eggs were encountered although other helminth species were present. Patrucco and colleagues [ 14 ] found pinworm eggs in 1 of 52 coprolites from the coastal site of Los Gavilanes in north-central Peru. The site is located 3. The site was a Preceramic period Late Archaic seasonal occupation and storage area.

The site had 2 distinct strata dated by radiocarbon technique to 4,—4, years ago and 3,—4, years ago, respectively. Twenty-two coprolites from each stratum were analyzed. In addition, 8 coprolites from mixed context of the 2 main strata were analyzed. The coprolite preservation was good at this site. The 1 coprolite positive for E. We examined 28 coprolites from the Mono Site, Peru unpublished data. This site is located near Paracas, Peru. It is dated to approximately 2, years ago by artifact association. One of the coprolites was positive for E.

The excavation of 4 sites affiliated with the Chiribaya culture of the Moquegua River Valley of southern Peru by Buikstra and colleagues [ 15 ] resulted in the recovery of mummies and coprolites. Intestinal contents from mummies were analyzed for Chiribaya Alta. Coprolites not associated with mummies were recovered from Chiribaya Baja and San Geromino. The sites were distributed from the coast San Geronimo to the lower valley agricultural areas Chiribaya Alta and Chiribaya Baja to the middle valley Yaral.

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Analysis of intestinal contents from the mummies revealed 1 possible E. However, the possible eggs were very poorly preserved. Therefore, our diagnosis in this case was not secure. The coprolite was found on the face of a mummy. This represents an interesting prehistoric episode. This case of a fecal deposit on this mummy is interesting parasitologically because the coprolite on the face contained many Enterobius eggs 1, eggs per gram and is the only coprolite from the valley that exhibits E.

The coprolites from house contexts at San Geronimo and Chiribaya Baja, though positive for other helminth species, were negative for E. A second study focused on a different set of coprolites from the sites of San Geronimo and Chiribaya Baja [ 16 ]. We examined 40 coprolites from the Paloma Site located on the central coast of Peru unpublished data. Radiocarbon dates for the site center around 6, years ago [ 8 , 10 ]. This is an open site and coprolite preservation was particularly bad.

We selected 20 coprolites from diverse contexts, including burials for analysis. None of these were positive for helminth eggs. The Ring Site, an open shell mound in southern Peru [ 8 ], was visited by Reinhard in The site dates to 7,—10, B. He recovered 6 coprolites from the stratigraphic profile left open from previous excavations [ 9 ]. There was very little organic residue remaining in the coprolites other than fish bone and small numbers of pollen grains. Pinworm eggs are the most delicate of human parasites recovered from archaeological sites. This site was not conducive to the preservation of such delicate structures.

It is likely that any eggs that were in the feces at the time of defecation decomposed over the passage of millennia. No pinworm eggs were recovered from the Ring Site. The site was largely destroyed by construction [ 10 ]. The site is dated by radiocarbon technique to 2,—1, years ago. The coprolites are from an agricultural period. Preservation of the coprolites was excellent. One coprolite was positive for pinworm eggs. The site is dated by radiocarbon technique between 3, and 2, years ago.

The coprolites were fragmented. Of 16 samples analyzed, 11 were positive for E. The sampling strategy was not known to the parasitologists, so it was impossible to be certain of how many defecations or individuals were represented. The high number of positive samples suggested multiple sampling of several fragments from positive coprolites. Ferreira and colleagues [ 19 ] analyzed 26 coprolites from the site of Tiliviche in northern Chile.

This is one of the oldest dated Atacama Desert sites, with a beginning date of 9, years ago. Two occupational strata contained coprolites. The first, Unit I, ranged between 7, and 6, years ago. A second, more recent occupation, Unit II, had a commencing date of 6, years ago and an ending date of 3, years ago. The site itself lies 40 km from the Pacific coast at an altitude m. The nearest modern city in the region is Iquique. The prehistoric subsistence was based on marine animals. We recently analyzed 21 mummies excavated from coastal sites in northern Chile from the site of Morro 1 and Morro 1—6, Arica, Chile.

These mummies were associated with the Chinchorro Culture of 6, to 4, B. Subsistence was based on terrestrial plants and marine animals. The coprolites recovered from the mummies were well preserved. No pinworm eggs were found, although another helminth species was present unpublished data. None of the pre-Inca coprolites were positive for pinworm, although other helminth species were present. Of the 20 Inca coprolites, 5 were positive. Both collections of coprolites came from diverse contexts. Both collections exhibited excellent preservation, and both collections are finely dated by radiocarbon technique and artifact association.

The change in settlement pattern may explain the increase in pinworm infections. Prior to the Inca, farmers lived in dispersed communities. The Inca moved farmers to central villages, thus crowding the population. The analysis of an Argentinian frozen child sacrificed by the Incas revealed pinworm infection [ 21 ].

Another analysis of a Chilean Inca sacrifice was done by Horne [ 22 ]. The latter individual was not positive for pinworm eggs. These mummies date as old as 2, years ago and from different cultures. No eggs of E. These new data are summarized in Table 2. The cave is located in a calcareous bank 2. This site was used by prehistoric people as a habitation and served also as a burial place. Wooden art objects, feathers, snail shells, and food remains e.

Coprolites were collected in the upper layer, and the positive samples may be up to 3, years old and have a minimum age of years. A mummified body of a child was also found in the cave and was dated to 2, years old [ 24 ]. They were in variable states of preservation. Although they were positive for other helminth species, they were negative for pinworm. The cave was used as a burial place, and there are rock paintings on the walls. The culture was identified as hunter-gatherers.

Two human coprolites were recovered from this site. Although positive for other helminths, they were negative for pinworms [ 26 ]. A partially mummified individual from Lapa do Boquete was negative for pinworms but positive for other parasites [ 27 ]. Parasitological analyses have also been done in the northeast of Brazil. It has a sheltered area within it, formed by ancient rockfalls.