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Durham University

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Human mobility and the modelling of forager transitions

A research project of the Department of Anthropology, part of the old, old, Anthropology in Development, Anthropology in Development and Social Anthropology research groups.


Durham University has recently awarded capital investment funds to the Department to research human mobility and the modelling of forager transitions. Anthropological models of transitions of forager societies tend to investigate either the social dynamics or the archaeological remains connected to the transition from forager into complex agricultural systems. Durham University is one of the few places in the UK and worldwide where there is expertise in both these approaches. With new staff now entering the Department this potential can be developed further. The award will bring together the modelling of socio-cultural causes and implications of mobility (carried out by Dr. T. Widlok) with the analysis of archaeological skeletons (by Dr. A. Bentley) as part of the larger agenda in the Evolutionary Anthropology Research Group of the Department of Anthropology in Durham, to test assumptions about the relationship between social and physical factors in this process. On the basis of independent past research in the two subfields we will explore the possibilities for using both ethnographic and isotope-based archaeological bodies of data as sources of insight in a more comprehensive attempt to model forager transitions and to unravel their complexities. The award includes equipment necessary to complete both the ethnographic and archaeological aspects of the research.


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