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Modelling Patterns of Archaeological Material Culture using Demographic Simulation

Kovacevic, M; (2017) Modelling Patterns of Archaeological Material Culture using Demographic Simulation. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University Collegel London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis aims to apply spatially explicit simulation modelling and Approximate Bayesian Computation (Tavare et al. 1997; Beaumont et al. 2002) to explore how human demography and cultural transmission processes have shaped geographic patterns of material culture, as evidenced in the archaeological record. It is an example of how theory developed in different fields can be used to address archaeological and anthropological problems, and formalise interpretations and conclusions drawn from results of standard statistical tests. A high degree of structuring is seen in the spatial distribution of symbolic artefact types associated with the Aurignacian culture in Upper Palaeolithic Europe, particularly the degree of sharing of ornament types across archaeological sites, and multivariate analyses of these distributions have been interpreted as indicating ethno-linguistic differentiation (Vanhaeren and d'Errico 2006). The primary focus of this thesis is examining whether ethnic structuring is required to explain the spatial distribution of variation in this archaeological material culture data. This multidisciplinary thesis draws on simulation modelling and statistical techniques in order to test whether the distribution of artefact types reported by Vanhaeren and d'Errico (2006) can be explained by a simple model of cultural identity-by-descent with modification and isolation- by-distance, or whether it is necessary to invoke cultural group interaction processes that would be expected if differences in material culture were symbolically marking differences between ethnic groups and homophilically driving cultural interactions. To do this, spatially explicit cultural transmission simulation models that generate expectations of a range of spatial statistics describing the distribution of shared ornament types have been developed. These simulated spatial statistics are compared to those observed from archaeological data for Aurignacian Europe, using Approximate Bayesian Computation, in order to test and compare different hypotheses concerning group interaction dynamics for the period. The hypotheses examined include ones where material culture does or does not drive group interaction dynamics. In addition to the main study, my contributions – which draw on the modelling approaches in the main study – to two collaborative projects are discussed. The first of these examines a hypothesis that Cytochrome P450 3A5 (CYP3A5) is important in salt retention adaptation. The second study is concerned with examining the rate of gene flow over time and space through analyses of craniometric data, with the aim of informing on the extent of past population migration activity.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Modelling Patterns of Archaeological Material Culture using Demographic Simulation
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1556256
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