From the Ethnographic Modelling of Nomadic
Behaviours to Archaeological Site Functions:
Determining Attribution Critera
Based on a study of the camp types of three populations of nomadic hunter-gatherers, we have defined three categories of habitation which are differentiated on an essentially sociological basis, but which may also reflect an economic organisation that changes throughout the year. The “hunting camp” is one of the occupation types that composes the division of the residential group, and has a specific economic role (base camp provisioning). Archaeology, which essentially attributes functions to sites on the basis of the remains of economic activities, may attempt to reconstruct the sociological composition of sites. However, the necessarily incomplete aspect of archaeological data requires us to compare information from several sites close in space and time in order to determine site function and mobility type. The modelling of camp types based on comparative ethnographic data allows us to clarify the relationships between site function and mobility type; when applied to the Magdalenian sites of the Paris Basin, it helps to support the interpretations made by researchers.