New computer predictive model useful in identifying ancient hunter-gatherer sites —

Researchers seeking to determine a number of the most troublesome ‘finds’ in archaeology — together with websites utilized by nomadic hunter-gatherer communities — are tapping know-how to assist in the search.

Archaeologists on the Max Planck Institute and Simon Fraser College are gaining new insights from a pc predictive mannequin that may assess the probability that landscapes comprise such well-sought websites. Their work is newly printed within the journal PLOS One.

“Preserving archaeological websites from destruction ensures that historical past just isn’t misplaced and is very necessary for communities that didn’t use written information; however earlier than websites may be protected and studied, they have to first be discovered,” says SFU archaeology PhD scholar Rob Rondeau and interim director of SFU’s Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

Chris Carleton, now of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology developed the Regionally-Adaptive Mannequin of Archaeological Potential (LAMAP) — a predictive mannequin that considers distributions of values for panorama variables round identified websites.

LAMAP makes use of data from the panorama knowledge to estimate the archaeological potential of land that has not been examined by archaeologists. Carleton efficiently demonstrated the strategy on massive, completely occupied websites in Belize and Turkey.

Rondeau, an skilled underwater archaeologist, linked with Carleton on the suggestion of SFU archaeology professor Mark Collard, who supervised Carleton whereas he was a PhD scholar and SFU post-doctoral fellow.

Rondeau’s curiosity is discovering historic websites on submerged landscapes off the B.C. coast — these occupied when sea ranges had been a lot decrease than immediately. Their collaboration will play a serious function in serving to him to determine underwater the campsites of hunter-gatherers within the distant previous.

Carleton and Rondeau examined LAMAP on the Tanana Valley in Alaska — with its wealthy file of hunter-gatherer websites stretching again to the final Ice Age, 14,500 years in the past. They “educated” the mannequin with knowledge in regards to the panorama round 90 identified websites, randomly chosen from the State of Alaska’s Heritage Database.

The pair predicted which elements of the panorama had the very best potential for producing extra websites, after which returned to the database to guage their predictions. Areas that LAMAP recognized as excessive potential proved to comprise lots of the remaining websites within the database, confirming that LAMAP was capable of predict most popular campsite areas that will have been occupied by hunter-gatherers just for a couple of days or even weeks.

Important computing energy was wanted to undertake the systematic comparability of tens of millions of information factors from the 7,000-square-kilometrere research space. Rondeau travelled to Alaska in 2019 to expertise the panorama and can subsequent apply what has been discovered to the deep waters off the B.C. coast.

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Supplies offered by Simon Fraser College. Unique written by Melissa Shaw. Be aware: Content material could also be edited for model and size.