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How food is procured; foraging refers to predator-prey relationships; Beahvioral Ecology
Optimal Foraging Theory
States that organisms focus on consuming the most energy while expanding the least amount of energy. In archaeology it acts as a "frame of reference" in the sense that any departures from optimal can help to identify constraints in the environment (either natural or social)
seek to yield highest returns for energy spent in SEARCH, PURSUIT & PROCESING
1. Subsistenc Systems
is procured. Also known as "Diet Breadth"
- A. Focal Economy- specialized economy centered on one or a few similar resources "low diet breadth". Labor is intensified to increase the quantity rather than the variety of food in diet. Resources must be:
- 1. reliable
- 2. abundant
- 3. consistently available
- - Archaeologically: a focal economy has few functionl tool classes
- B. Diffuse Economy- generalized subsistence based on scheduled use of wide variety of resources "wide breadth". People move among resources patches as they become available; minimizes risk if one or a few resources fail
- - Archaeologically: a focal economy has few functional tool classes
2. Subsistence Systems
HOW things are procured. Closely related to settlement patterns in terms of how people move over the landscape
1. Food Extractors- two ends of a continuum for hunter gatherers
a. Foragers (travelers)- a subsistence system in which neither plants not animals are the dominant food source, and where the pattern of energy extraction is non-systematic. Rather, because the resource distribution is unpredictable, foragers take whatever is available (generalized). More search time and less pursuit time.
b. Collectors (processors)- plants, animals, or some combination is focused on in a systematic fashion; often (but not necessarily) specialized as resource distribution is predictable and reliable. More pursuit time and less search time (e.g., acorn processing in prehistoric California)
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