Evolution of Early Thule Material Culture: Cultural Transmission and Terrestrial Ecology

Anna Marie Prentiss, Matthew J. Walsh, Thomas A. Foor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We investigate how evolution proceeds across multiple scales considering culture as species, hierarchically integrated systems, assemblages of many coherent units, and collections of ephemeral entities in order to examine the nature of Early Thule cultural evolution with reference to material culture and adaptive strategies. Results suggest that harpoon heads evolved via cultural transmission processes with little impact from terrestrial ecological context. In contrast, characteristics of architectural features, stone tool assemblages, and combined architecture and stone tools displayed evidence for significant effects of both cultural transmission and select measures of ecological context. There is no evidence that evolution was ‘evoked’ by ecological context alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-650
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Cultural evolution
  • Cultural phylogenetics
  • Cultural transmission
  • Early Thule expansion
  • Inuit peoples
  • North American Arctic


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