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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Inferring Settlement Systems for the Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of San Diego County, California


Recent discussions of prehistoric settlement systems have often been framed in terms of a simple typological contrast between ''foragers'' and ''collectors.'' This dichotomy does less than full justice to the potential complexity of prehistoric adaptive systems and to their expression in the archaeological record. Settlement systems are proposed to vary in several partially independent dimensions. A number of variables in the archaeological record may be argued to reflect aspects of this variation. The potential, the difficulties, and some partial successes in inferring settlement systems from the prehistoric archaeological record of San Diego County are discussed.

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