Ecology and Human Organization on the Great Plains by Douglas B. Bamforth

By Douglas B. Bamforth

A part of a chain on interdisciplinary contributions to archaeology, the booklet used to be initially accomplished through the writer as a doctoral undertaking. incorporated are sections on source constitution and human association, grassland ecology, ungulate ecology, styles of forage creation at the nice Plains, and p

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First, for a distinct subgrouping within a society to maintain its identity, its members must have contact with one another on a regular or reasonably regular basis. This is probably particularly true when subgroups begin to develop that are not based strictly on kinship ties. Second, as Johnson (1982:405-407) notes, large aggregations in relatively simple societies are often tied to major ceremonies. Such ceremonies generally require specific ritual paraphernalia and relatively great cooperative effort to construct special ritual facilities.

However, it is also clear that individuals held a chiefs position only as long as their personal characteristics qualified them for it and that the actual process by which tribal decisions were made relied heavily on concensus (especially see Grinnell 1962a:338-342). Complexity for the purposes of this study therefore refers primarily to heterogeneity as defined before. This concept of complexity is similar to that found in ecological research: Colinvaux (1973:237) defines a complex system as "one with many parts and interactions between those parts," and Odum (1971) relates human social complexity to the number of different occupations in a society.

The degree of patchiness defined in this way is obviously likely to vary seasonally. 20 CHAPTER 2 The size of the area a hunter or group of hunters can search for game suggests the spatial scale at which patches should be conceived for this study, although no attempt is made here to quantify patchiness rigorously. Assiniboine runners searching for herds for communal drives occasionally went as far as 40 to 50 miles from camp (Arthur 1975), but more common search distances were less, possibly on the order of 5 to 10 miles.

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