Category Anthropology

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Journal Articles

Benefits from grouping and cooperative hunting among Ache hunter-gatherers: Insights from an agent-based foraging model

Janssen, M.A. and K. Hill

2014 Human Ecology 42 (6): 823-835.


We develop an agent-based model of foraging behavior based on ecological parameters of the environment and prey characteristics measured in the Mbaracayu Reserve Paraguay. We then compare estimated foraging behavior from our model to the ethnographically observed behavior of Ache hunter–gatherers who inhabit the region and show a close match for daily harvest rates, time allocation, and species composition of prey. The model allows us to explore the implications of social living, cooperative hunting, variation in group size and mobility, under Ache-like ecological conditions. Simulations show that social living decreases daily risk of no food, but cooperative hunting has only a modest effect on mean harvest rates. Analysis demonstrates that bands should contain 7–8 hunters who move nearly every day in order to achieve the best combination of average harvest rates and low probability of no meat in camp.

Keywords: Optimal foraging theory; Agent-based modeling


Coordination in irrigation systems: An analysis of the Lansing-Kremer model of Bali

Janssen, M.A.

2007 Agricultural Systems 93(1-3): 170-190.


Farmers within irrigation systems, such as those in Bali, solve complex coordination problems to allocate water and control pests. Lansing and Kremer’s [Lansing, J.S., Kremer, J.N., 1993. Emergent properties of Balinese water temples. American Anthropologist 95(1), 97–114] study of Balinese water temples showed that this coordination problem can be solved by assuming simple local rules for how individual communities make their decisions. Using the original Lansing–Kremer model, the robustness of their insights was analyzed and the ability of agents to self-organize was found to be sensitive to pest dynamics and assumptions of agent decision making.

Keywords: Irrigation; Coordination; Networks; Synchronization; Agent-based model


Book Chapters

An agent-based model of resource distribution on hunter-gatherer foraging strategies: clumped habitats favor lower mobility, but result in higher foraging returns

Janssen, M.A. and K. Hill

2016 In Simulating Prehistoric and Ancient Worlds, edited by J.A. Barceló and F. Del Castillo, 159-174, Springer.

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