PerspectiveAnthropology

Deflating the myth of isolated communities

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Science  08 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6466, pp. 682-683
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz6574

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Summary

From its early foundations, two schools of thought have dominated academic anthropology's perspective on deep human history (1). Whereas cultural evolution has charted broad, step-like trajectories toward large human aggregations, culture history subdivides cultural traditions in space and time. Guided by these perspectives, generations of archaeologists have pegged the transition from mobile foraging to permanent villages as a transformational shift in the human past. But new findings, including the deft integration of multiple lines of evidence by Mittnik et al. (2) on page 731 of this issue, raise questions about the categorical juxtaposition of mobility and sedentism.

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