Central Place Models of Acorn and Mussel Processing

Robert L. Bettinger, Ripan Malhi, Helen McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use a central place foraging model of field resource processing to explore the archaeological implications of experimental and ethnographical observations pertaining to the collection and processing of black oak (Quercus kelloggii) and big mussel (Mytilus californianus). These data suggest oak field processing will generally be minimal and confined mainly to drying and that big mussel may be transported unprocessed or completely processed depending on round-trip travel time and mussel colony productivity. Archaeological data further demonstrate that the field processing of mussels is frequently at odds with central place model predictions, suggesting optimization of quantities other than calories and time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-899
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Acorn (Quercus spp.)
  • Central place foraging
  • Field processing
  • Mussel (Mytilus spp.)
  • Western mono

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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