A Test of Ideal Free Distribution Predictions Using Targeted Survey and Excavation on California’s Northern Channel Islands

Christopher S. Jazwa, Douglas J. Kennett, Bruce Winterhalder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using targeted survey, excavation, and radiocarbon dating, we assess the extent to which human settlement patterns on California’s northern Channel Islands fit predictions arising from the ideal free distribution (IFD): (1) people first established and expanded permanent settlements in the regions ranked high for environmental resource suitability; (2) as population grew, they settled in progressively lower ranked habitats; and (3) changes in the archaeological record associated with high population levels such as increases in faunal diversity and evenness in high-ranked habitats are coincident with the expansion to other areas. On Santa Rosa Island, the early permanent settlements were located in both high- and middle-ranked locations, with the most extensive settlement at the highest ranked locations and only isolated sites elsewhere. Settlement at a low-ranked habitat was confined to the late Holocene (after 3600 cal BP). Drought influenced the relative rank of different locations, which is an example of climate adding a temporal dimension to the model that episodically stimulated population movement and habitat abandonment. Because the IFD includes a wide range of cultural and environmental variables, it has the potential to be a central model for guiding archaeological analysis and targeted field research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1242-1284
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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