from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun anthropology a transitioning process that sees a nomadic population being placed into more permanent registrable settlements.


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  • It was not until the transition from the hunter-gatherer, wandering phase to the first permanent or semi-permanent settlements - known by archaeologists as 'sedentism' - that the evidence began to build up in any quantity.

    Archive 2008-01-01 Jan 2008

  • The general notion is that as populations shifted their subsistence from foraging to agriculture their settlement pattern changed from mobility to sedentism.

    Pestilence and Headcolds: Encountering Illness in Colonial Mexico 2008

  • Anthropologists believe that “sedentism”—the transition from life on the move to staying put—was the most important ism of all.

    The Great Experiment Strobe Talbott 2008

  • You describe the societies as succumbing to "opportunistic sedentism."

    Tracking Hunter-Gatherers 2006

  • The idea is that people might initially have practiced a degree of sedentism in areas where there were rich resources, because there was no need to move.

    Tracking Hunter-Gatherers 2006

  • This point of view, she charged, revealed a “strong techno-environmental bias” on the part of processual archaeologists, which Bender declared to be “unacceptable”—especially as an explanation of sedentism—because it left out social and cultural factors.

    The Goddess and the Bull MICHAEL BALTER 2005

  • Over the past several decades, archaeologists and anthropologists trying to explain sedentism and the Neolithic Revolution have swung back and forth between opposing types of explanations.

    The Goddess and the Bull MICHAEL BALTER 2005

  • For one thing, a number of excavations in the Near East had since demonstrated that sedentism—living in permanent or semipermanent houses or other structures—sometimes preceded agriculture by thousands of years.

    The Goddess and the Bull MICHAEL BALTER 2005

  • Meanwhile research in the New World has opened an even greater time gap between plant domestication and sedentism, although in the reverse direction: archaeobotanists working in Mexico, Panama, and Ecuador have recently found evidence that humans began domesticating squashes some 10,000 years ago, about 5,000 years before they began to settle in permanent villages.

    The Goddess and the Bull MICHAEL BALTER 2005

  • The mysteries of sedentism were relegated to a much lower place on the research agenda.

    The Goddess and the Bull MICHAEL BALTER 2005


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