Ethnoarchaeology among the Efe pygmies, Zaire: Spatial organization of campsites

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Abstract

This paper examines the physical structure of present-day Efe Pygmy campsites through study of the relationships between behavior patterns and their material residues. Campsites consist of five main components: the perimeter, huts, fireplaces, trash heaps, and the central open area enclosed within the arrangement of huts. Most campsite activities are performed within the perimeter, and exterior fireplaces associated with huts are the focus of a variety of daily activities. Refuse is regularly discarded onto trash heaps. Hut size does not correlate with either the number of occupants or their stature. Site population can be estimated using a count of huts, although reoccupation of a recently abandoned camp or a family's moving from one hut to a new one during a single occupation can inflate the count of huts relative to the number of families that lived at the camp at any one time. The spatial organization of campsites is influenced by environment, physical factors (such as human body size), and sociocultural phenomena.

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