Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-6c8bd87754-qvghw Total loading time: 0.374 Render date: 2022-01-21T00:13:19.331Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

5 - Activity patterns: 1. Articular degenerative conditions and musculoskeletal modifications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2015

Clark Spencer Larsen
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
Get access

Summary

Introduction

Physical activity is a defining characteristic of human adaptations. Hunter-gatherers, for example, are often characterized as highly mobile, hard-working, and physically active. In contrast, agriculturalists are sometimes seen as having an easier life – they are settled in one place and have a lighter workload than hunter-gatherers. In his popular and influential archaeology textbook, Robert Braidwood (1967:113) distinguished hunter-gatherers as leading “a savage’s existence, and a very tough one…following animals just to kill them to eat, or moving from one berry patch to another (and) living just like an animal.” Ethnographic and other research calls into question these simplistic portrayals of economic systems. Following the publication of Lee and DeVore’s (1968) Man the Hunter conference volume, and especially Lee’s (1979) provocative findings regarding work behavior and resource acquisition among the !Kung in northern Botswana, a consensus emerged that, contrary to the traditional Hobbesian depiction of hunter-gatherer lifeways as “nasty, brutish, and short,” prehistoric foragers were not subject to overbearing amounts of work, and life overall for them was leisurely, plentiful, and confident (Sahlins, 1972). More importantly, these developments fostered a wider discussion by anthropologists and other social scientists of activity, behavior, and lifestyle in both present and past hunter-gatherers (Kelly, 2013). These discussions led to the conclusion that human adaptive systems are highly variable. As a result, it is now clear that it is not possible to make blanket statements about the nature of workloads or other aspects of lifestyle in foragers and farmers (Kelly, 1992, 2013; Larsen, 1995). Rather, workload and lifestyle are highly influenced by the kinds of resources exploited, climate, and sometimes highly localized circumstances. Nevertheless, there are some general patterns that emerge via bioarchaeological study of past human populations, which this chapter will discuss, in part.

Type
Chapter
Information
Bioarchaeology
Interpreting Behavior from the Human Skeleton
, pp. 178 - 213
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×