|Title||Adaptive Cycles of Coastal Hunter-Gatherers|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Authors||Thompson, VD, Turck, JA|
Along the southeastern Atlantic coast of Georgia, hunter-gatherer groups substantially altered the landscape for more than three millennia (ca. 4,200―1,000 B.P.) leaving behind a distinct material record in the form of shell rings, middens, and burial mounds. During this time, these groups experienced major changes in sea level and resource distribution. Specifically, we take a resilience theory approach to address these changes and discuss the utility of this theory for archaeology in general. We suggest that despite major destabilizing forces in the form of sea-level lowering and its concomitant effects on resource distribution, cultural systems rebounded to a structural pattern similar to the one expressed prior to environmental disruption. We propose, in part, the ability for people to return to similar patterns was the result of the high visibility of previous behaviors inscribed on the landscape in the form of shell middens and rings from the period preceding environmental disruption. Finally, despite a return to similar cultural formulations, hunter-gatherers experienced some fundamental changes resulting in modifications to existing behaviors (e.g., ringed villages) as well as the addition of new ones in the form of burial-mound construction.