Computational Model Library

Displaying 5 of 5 results holocene clear

The HUMan impact on LANDscapes (HUMLAND) model has been developed to track and quantify the intensity of different impacts on landscapes at the continental level. This agent-based model focuses on determining the most influential factors in the transformation of interglacial vegetation with a specific emphasis on burning organized by hunter-gatherers. HUMLAND integrates various spatial datasets as input and target for the agent-based model results. Additionally, the simulation incorporates recently obtained continental-scale estimations of fire return intervals and the speed of vegetation regrowth. The obtained results include maps of possible scenarios of modified landscapes in the past and quantification of the impact of each agent, including climate, humans, megafauna, and natural fires.

Many archaeological assemblages from the Iberian Peninsula dated to the Last Glacial Maximum contain large quantities of European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) remains with an anthropic origin. Ethnographic and historic studies report that rabbits may be mass-collected through warren-based harvesting involving the collaborative participation of several persons.

We propose and implement an Agent-Based Model grounded in the Optimal Foraging Theory and the Diet Breadth Model to examine how different warren-based hunting strategies influence the resulting human diets.

Particularly, this model is developed to test the following hypothesis: What if an age and/or gender-based division of labor was adopted, in which adult men focus on large prey hunting, and women, elders and children exploit warrens?

Zooarchaeological evidences indicate that rabbit hunting became prevalent during the Upper Palaeolithic in the Iberian Peninsula.

The purpose of the ABM is to test if warren hunting using nets as a collective strategy can explain the introduction of rabbits in the human diet in the Iberian Peninsula during this period. It is analyzed whether this hunting strategy has an impact on human diet breadth by affecting the relative abundance of other main taxa in the dietary spectrum.
Model validity is measured by comparing simulated diet breadth to the observed diet breadth in the zooarchaeological record.

The agent-based model is explicitly grounded on the Diet Breadth Model (DBM), from the Optimal Foraging Theory (OFT).

The Palaeo-Agulhas Plain formed an important habitat exploited by Pleistocene hunter-gatherer populations during periods of lower sea level. This productive, grassy habitat would have supported numerous large-bodied ungulates accessible to a population of skilled hunters with the right hunting technology. It also provided a potentially rich location for plant food collection, and along its shores a coastline that moved with the rise and fall of sea levels. The rich archaeological and paleontological records of Pleistocene sites along the modern Cape south coast of South Africa, which would have overlooked the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain during Pleistocene times of lower sea level, provides a paleoarchive of this extinct ecosystem. In this paper, we present a first order illustration of the “palaeoscape modeling” approach advocated by Marean et al. (2015). We use a resourcescape model created from modern studies of habitat productivity without the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain. This is equivalent to predominant Holocene conditions. We then run an agent-based model of the human foraging system to investigate several research questions. Our agent-based approach uses the theoretical framework of optimal foraging theory to model human foraging decisions designed to optimize the net caloric gains within a complex landscape of spatially and temporally variable resources. We find that during the high sea-levels of MIS 5e (+5-6 m asl) and the Holocene, the absence of the Plain left a relatively poor food base supporting a much smaller population relying heavily on edible plant resources from the current Cape flora. Despite high species diversity of plants with edible storage organs, and marine invertebrates, encounter rates with highly profitable resources were low. We demonstrate that without the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain, human populations must have been small and low density, and exploited plant, mammal, and marine resources with relatively low caloric returns. The exposure and contraction of the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain was likely the single biggest driver of behavioral change during periods of climate change through the Pleistocene and into the transition to the Holocene.

This model is used to simulate the influence of spatially and temporally variable sedimentary processes on the distribution of dated archaeological features in a surface context.

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