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What is the CECD? 
The CECD is an AHRC funded research group dedicated to examining the evolutionary underpinnings of human cultural behaviour, past and present. more>

   
Page Title - projects
Phase 1: Spatial dimensions of cultural evolution: Project 020
Evolution of culture areas in North America

James Steele (AHRC CECD, Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

PROJECT FUNDING: 50% PDRA

PROJECT ABSTRACT:
Compared with other continents, the relatively large number of language stocks in the Americas may reflect a young age for human colonisation. This diversity may reflect an initial phase of radiation into diverse habitats, and consequent fragmentation into regional social networks, that has become obscured elsewhere by historical linguistic processes of mixing and of lineage extinction. We wish to discover whether the material cultural record and the genetic record of these populations demonstrate similar levels of heterogeneity and spatial segregation. In North America, linguistic diversity is greatest in low latitudes, and in areas of most ecological diversity. Biological distances between north Native American populations are correlated with language and geography. We will compile a spatial database of material cultural trait distributions and gene frequencies for these ethnographically-documented populations. We will then analyse the correlation between artefact distributions, language distributions and culture areas, and we will use GIS and simulation techniques to model their evolution in space.



ASSOCIATED PUBLICATIONS:
Steele, J. and M Rockman (2003).
Where do we go from here? Modelling the decision-making process during exploratory dispersal. In: M Rockman & J Steele (eds.) (ed\s) Colonization of Unfamiliar Landscapes: the Archaeology of Adaptation. London: Routledge. 130-143.
M Rockman and J Steele (eds) (2003).
Colonization of Unfamiliar Landscapes: the Archaeology of Adaptation. London: Routledge.