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Maori Population Growth in Pre-contact New Zealand: regional population dynamics inferred from summed probability distributions of radiocarbon dates.

Brown, A. and Crema, E., 2019. Maori Population Growth in Pre-contact New Zealand: regional population dynamics inferred from summed probability distributions of radiocarbon dates. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1080/15564894.2019.1605429

Abstract

Past population dynamics play a key role in integrated models of socio-cultural change in Polynesia. A key aspect of these models is the interplay between food-production and population growth. Located on the margins of Polynesia, New Zealand presented considerable challenges to traditional Polynesian food-production, many crops were not successfully established and those that were produced greatly reduced yields. However, despite the hurdles to food production and the likely influence on population, little empirical analysis of Māori population has been carried out in New Zealand. Here, we use summed probability distributions of radiocarbon dates (SPDRD) to show clear regional and local variation population dynamics. Specifically, we find population in the optimal horticultural zone follows a logistic pattern of growth, while in the sub-optimal zone both a modified logistic curve, representing slower growth than the north, or a ‘stepped’ pattern are supported. In the non-horticultural south, our results concur with previous studies that suggest population rapidly grew and then declined as faunal resources diminished. Finally, our analysis of local-scale growth showed considerable heterogeneity within the horticultural zone and homogeneity in the southern hunting region. This suggests that population trends were similar in southern areas, but finer-grained models are required for horticultural communities. Crucially, our results are empirically derived and can be placed within an absolute chronological context allowing further investigation of key trends.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1556-4894
Uncontrolled Keywords:Demography; Polynesia; New Zealand Archaeology; Summed Probability Distributions of Radiocarbon Dates
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:32132
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:08 Apr 2019 11:14
Last Modified:05 Nov 2019 14:59

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