Adaptation in Archaeology
The theory of evolution is inherently attractive for archaeologists, who are concerned with the long-term history of humankind (Dunnell 1980). Changes through time during the long process of hominization are, by definition, adaptive. Adaptation is clearly one basic constituent of evolution. For that reason, the concept of adaptation – including the capacity for a cultural system to adjust to changes – is important in many approaches, particularly in ecologically oriented archaeology and, more recently, in evolutionary archaeology.
Basically, adaptation refers to “the idea that organisms are fitted for the particular environments in which they live” (Alexander 1962: 826) or more directly to the “conformity between the organism and its environment” (Pianka 1983: 85).
It is accepted that an...
- Alexander, G. 1962. General biology. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell.Google Scholar
- Gould, S.J. 2002. The structure of evolutionary theory. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Kelly, R.L. 1995. The foraging spectrum. Diversity in hunter-gatherer lifeways. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
- Neff, H. 1992. Ceramics and evolution. In Archaeological method and theory, ed. M. Schiffer, vol. 4, 141–193. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
- Pianka, E.R. 1983. Evolutionary ecology. 3rd ed. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.Google Scholar
- Steward, J. 1955. Theory of culture change. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
- Van Pool, T.L. 2002. Adaptation. In Darwin and archaeology, ed. J.P. Hart and J.E. Terrell, 15–28. Westport: Bergin & Garvey.Google Scholar
- White, L. 1949. The science of culture: A study of man and civilization. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar