Abstract and Keywords
This article discusses variation in hunter-gatherer technology and its cause(s). It begins with a description of Ju/’hoan and Nuvugmiut technology (primarily food-getting) to describe the range of technology present among ethnographically known foragers. It then considers Oswalt’s measures of technological complexity, and considers how risk and mobility condition the complexity of foraging technology. The resulting patterns are explained from the perspective of human behavioural ecology, and the issues of gender and prestige are considered. Suggested future directions include more experimental and ethnographic work to determine the costs and benefits of the different elements of hunter-gatherer technology—such as stone tools, ceramics, clothing, and architecture.
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