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Emergence and Collapse of Early VillagesModels of Central Mesa Verde Archaeology$
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Timothy Kohler and Mark Varien

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520270145

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520270145.001.0001

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Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages in the Central Mesa Verde

Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages in the Central Mesa Verde

An Introduction

(p.1) One Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages in the Central Mesa Verde
Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages

Timothy A. Kohler

Mark D. Varien

University of California Press

The National Science Foundation-funded Village Ecodynamics Project organizes data on the sizes and locations of Pueblo archaeological sites within a 1,817-sq-km portion of southwestern Colorado. The expansion of farmers in this area between AD 600 and 1280 is an example of a worldwide process known as the Neolithic Demographic Transition. We compare the settlement patterns created by these farmers, known through archaeological research, with simulated patterns generated by computerized agents on virtual landscapes (representing households) as the agents attempt to get enough maize, meat, wood, and water to survive under changing climatic circumstances. This will allow us to assess how relevant the concepts of adaptation and optimality are to understanding the changes seen in settlement patterns through time.

Keywords:   archaeological research, simulation, settlement patterns, adaptation, optimality, socionatural research, biocomplexity, Neolithic Demographic Transition, Village Ecodynamics Project

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