Event-history analysis is often used in the social sciences to study the occurrence of particular events over the lifespan of individuals and the impact of various factors on the rate at which those events occur. Like individuals, settlements can be analyzed and important events, such as founding or abandonment, can be studied using this method. Thus, as Richard Paine (1992) has noted, the technique can be useful in archaeological investigations of settlement processes. In this research we use it to explore the causes of settlement abandonment among a temperate shifting cultivators in an attempt to better understand the ecology of this adaptation and in order to evaluate the merits of the method. The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of northeastern North America present an interesting case study for applying event-history analysis to archaeological settlement dynamics because of the wealth of archaeological settlement data and detailed historic record that allows us to parse out historical factors and analyze the remaining ecological factors. We use event-history analysis as an alternative means for evaluating the relative and absolute effects of several variables that may have been predictive of the lifespan of settlements and the timing of their removal. The results suggest that the decision to move from a village was a complex process in which the population size of a village may have been the single most important, but not the only, determinant of settlement duration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes