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    Sizes of Permanent Campsite Communities Reflect Constraints on Natural Human Communities


    Kordsmeyer, Tobias and Mac Carron, Pádraig and Dunbar, R.I.M. (2017) Sizes of Permanent Campsite Communities Reflect Constraints on Natural Human Communities. Current Anthropology, 58 (2). pp. 289-294. ISSN 0011-3204

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    Abstract

    Both small-scale human societies and personal social networks have a characteristic hierarchical structure with successively inclusive layers of 15, 50, 150, 500, and 1,500 individuals. It has been suggested that these values represent a set of natural social attractors, or “sweet spots,” in organizational terms. We exploited the new phenomenon of permanent (i.e., residential) campsites to ask whether these values are present in the size distribution of the numbers of residents in these naturally small-scale communities. In two separate data sets of different grain, we find consistent evidence for sites with 50, 150, 500, and maybe 1,500 residents. We infer that these reflect numerical sizes at which communities may in some way be socially optimal. Our data do not allow us to say why this pattern emerges, but the consistency of the results and the fact that the predetermined sizes of permanent campsites adhere to this pattern suggest that it may arise from the limits on the number of relationships that make an effective community.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Anthropological research; Hunting and gathering societies; Camp sites; facilities, etc; Research; Social aspects; Community; Population geography;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > Research Institutes > An Foras Feasa
    Item ID: 11647
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1086/690731
    Depositing User: IR Editor
    Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 10:32
    Journal or Publication Title: Current Anthropology
    Publisher: University of Chicago Press
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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