Steele, James, Adams, Jonathan and Sluckin, Tim
Modelling Paleoindian dispersals
World Archaeology, 30, (2), .
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It is reasonable to expect that the global dispersal of modern humans was influenced by habitat variation in space and time; but many simulation models average such variation into a single, homogeneous surface across which the dispersal process is modelled. We present a demographic simulation model in which rates of spatial range expansion can be modified by local habitat values. The broad-scale vegetation cover of North America during the late last glacial is reconstructed and mapped at thousand-year intervals, 13,000-10,000 radiocarbon years BP. Results of the simulation of human dispersal into North America during the late last glacial are presented; output appears to match observed variation in occupancy of habitats during this period (as assessed from discard rates of diagnostic artefacts), if we assume that intrinsic population growth rates were fairly high and that local population densities varied as a function of environmental carrying capacity. Finally, a number of issues are raised relating to present limitations and possible future extensions of the simulation model.
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