The Libben Site: a Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering Village from the Eastern Late Woodlands of North America. Analysis and Implications for Palaeodemography and Human Origins

Publication Title

Recent Advances in Palaeodemography

Publication Date


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Libben site, hunting, fishing, gathering, village, eastern late woodlands, North America, palaeodemography, human origins




The demographic reconstruction of extinct societies from archaeological sites is a complex problem. A variety of variables affect the adequacy of the cemetery census, especially aboriginal burial practices, post-mortem preservation, excavation techniques, and estimation of demographic variables by investigators. Most important of all is the need to adjust life table values by typically high human rates of intrinsic growth. The number of populations that meet all these stringencies is unfortunately few, but one is the Libben Site, located in the Great Black Swamp of Northern Ohio. Dating from late first millennium, it is the largest single-occupation archaeological skeletal series from the Eastern Woodlands of the United States. Drawing from auricular-based skeletal ages and modern ethnographic estimates of fertility, we present the paleodemography of this important site, including growth-adjusted mortality profiles and age structures. These carry important implications for all phases of human evolution


Springer Netherlands