Hunter-gatherer variability: Developing models for the northern coasts

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Abstract

Hunter-fisher-gatherer (HFG) variability has received a lot of attention. We review the key developments in the theories of variability, which have usually resulted in binary classifications. We argue that a range of variation based on the degree of territorial ownership is preferable to these classifications. Hunter-fisher-gatherers of the world’s northern coasts have only been partially explored in this way with regard to variability. A major reason for this is that such coastal groups use boats, so normative models of inland terrestrial foraging are not immediately applicable. We suggest that the Saxe-Goldstein hypothesis, the cautious linking of territoriality to funerary behaviour, may be a useful avenue to explore. Much work has been done by scholars of the northern coasts on boats and maritime transport, and some conclusions could be extrapolated to regions farther south.

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Rowley-Conwy, P., & Piper, S. (2016). Hunter-gatherer variability: Developing models for the northern coasts. Arctic, 69(5). https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic4623

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