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Rethinking Anthropological Perspectives on Migration$
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Graciela S. Cabana and Jeffery J. Clark

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813036076

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813036076.001.0001

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Migration Muddles in Prehistory

Migration Muddles in Prehistory

The Distinction between Model-Bound and Model-Free Methods

(p.278) 14 Migration Muddles in Prehistory
Rethinking Anthropological Perspectives on Migration

Susan R. Frankenberg

Lyle W. Konigsberg

University Press of Florida

This chapter assesses how migration patterns can be detected in bioarchaeological and paleoanthropological contexts. Using quantitative genetic models and simulation methods, it demonstrates that past migration has a small or undetectable biological effect when population or migrant numbers are small, migration is a single event, and/or genetic drift has a long time to operate. The examples stress the need for clearly defined testable models of how population characteristics behave under various migration scenarios. The chapter argues that model-bound analyses of prehistoric population structure best evaluate competing ideas about past migration because they explain biological variation in terms of clear, mathematically defined processes without traditional hypothesis-testing frameworks and ad hoc explanations.

Keywords:   migration models, prehistoric population structure, quantitative genetic models, simulation methods

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