The prey as patch model: optimal handling of resources with diminishing returns

Burger, Oskar F. and Hamilton, Marcus J. and Walker, Robert S. (2005) The prey as patch model: optimal handling of resources with diminishing returns. Journal of Archaeological Science, 32 (8). pp. 1147-1158. ISSN 0305-4403. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2005.02.012) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2005.02.012

Abstract

Foraging theory provides archaeology with a valuable set of tools for investigating the constraints that influenced procurement decisions of the past. The prey-choice model has been used extensively by archaeologists, but has significant limitations given the nature of archaeological data. This paper suggests that the seldom-used Marginal Value Theorem (MVT) is a valuable tool for examining the ecological constraints on foraging decisions and merits further archaeological application. Ethnoarchaeological and experimental cases are presented demonstrating how patchegains curves can be generated from quantitative data on butchering return rates and handling times. Results indicate that such curves are diminishing return functions. This provides a basis for examining the linkage between processing intensity and resource fluctuation. This model allows archaeologists to address the relationship between attribute-states of faunal remains and predicted optimal post-acquisition decisions. The MVT is valuable to ethnoarchaeology because it identifies how mean foraging return rate influences the handling of acquired prey and makes quantified predictions of return rate based on processing intensity. The MVT can also be applied to archaeological studies of foraging behaviour and processing intensity as it can be used to estimate the set of environmental constraints in which a given kill was made (e.g., ‘‘good’’ vs. ‘‘bad’’ times). This approach may also identify the degree to which certain currencies, such as fat, are optimized at the expense of others, such as total caloric intake.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Unmapped bibliographic data: DA - 2005/// [EPrints field already has value set] ST - The prey as patch model [Field not mapped to EPrints] DP - Google Scholar [Field not mapped to EPrints]
Uncontrolled keywords: Marginal value theorem; Optimal foraging theory; Zooarchaeology; Resource depression
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Oskar Burger
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2016 12:24 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2016 12:23 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/53661 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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