Modeling Mechanisms of Cultural Diversity and Ethnicity in Hunter-Gatherers

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This paper aims to analyze the emergence of ethnicity and cultural differentiation in hunter-gatherer groups, using computer simulation methods. The existence of differences and similarities between populations has long been a major topic of investigation for archaeologists, who have traditionally used material culture as a means to identify different human groups. Today, this approach is perceived as being too simplistic. However, in the absence of satisfactory models, it often continues to be assumed as valid. In this paper, we present a preliminary model and its computer implementation to predict how hunter-gatherer societies interacted and built cultural identities as a consequence of the way they interacted. Our starting point for such analysis assumes the definition of ethnicity as the production and reproduction of group identity among members of a community, resulting from restricted cooperation flows. Results are compared with ongoing ethnoarchaeological research of Patagonian hunter-gatherers. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-384
JournalJournal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Ethnicity
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Patagonia
  • Social simulation


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