Simulating prehistoric population dynamics and adaptive behavioral responses to the environment in Long House Valley and Black Mesa, Arizona
This project contributes to our understanding of human adaptability to environmental stress and climate change in Long House Valley and Black Mesa, Arizona from AD 800-1350. This was accomplished through the development of a series of agentbased archaeological models. The first stage, Disaggregation, created a model that simulated individual persons within the Long House Valley landscape, a departure from the household-level models common in archaeological modeling. The second stage, Demography, applied empirically derived fertility and mortality rates to these human populations to provide insight into the effects of such rates on population patterns. The final stage expanded the modeled environment to include Black Mesa and allowed for the migration of individuals and households between the two areas in response to varying environmental and demographic pressures throughout the study period. The results of this project indicate that the introduction of biological and ethnographic realism to a model can produce unexpected results, including those that deviate from the population patterns observed archaeologically. Despite these unexpected interactions, the results support the importance of variations in agricultural productivity in driving human migrations in the region. Future archaeological models should consider further exploration small-scale, local population movements and the effects of dynamically changing fertility and mortality rates.
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