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Hunter-gatherer and Environmental Relations during the Mesolithic of Atlantic Europe.

EVANS, MALCOLM,JAY (2021) Hunter-gatherer and Environmental Relations during the Mesolithic of Atlantic Europe. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (PhD Thesis volumes 1 and 2) - Accepted Version


Environmental change is a major concern for society today. This concern extends the flooding of people’s homes, the reduction of biodiversity due to habitat loss, and the threat to economic prosperity where it is dependent upon the exploitation of wild resources. In terms of past climate change there has been significant amounts of research conducted into the Pleistocene to Holocene transition. This project explores the evidence for environmental change, of a less severe yet potentially disruptive amplitude, and its influence on the behaviour and decisions of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers on the Atlantic façade of Europe. The archaeological record is reviewed with a particular focus on the 8.2K cal bp event and the 2nd half of the 5th millennium cal BC. The resulting datasets are interrogated utilising a multiproxy approach and consideration is given to that which is archaeologically visible and that which is not. The limitations of the archaeological record are addressed through the development of new methodologies and interpretative frameworks. The findings are significant, as the severity of the 8.2k cal bp event at northern latitudes is confirmed, although this falls short of being able to assert a total abandonment at higher latitudes. During the 5th millennium cal BC, a period of instability related to more energetic shoreline conditions has been identified and this is very likely a regional phenomenon. The period of instability is accompanied by changes in hunter-gatherer behaviour, and this includes changes in the spatial organisation of settlement, and adjustments to procurement strategies. The overall situation is that environmental change is the norm during the Mesolithic of the Atlantic façade, almost certainly due to its highly moderated climate. The adaptability of hunter-gatherer societies in response to the changes brought about by fluctuations in the moderating mechanisms is strongly attested. In many ways not much has changed, as flooded homes, reductions in biodiversity and changes in the resources available for exploitation are all observed.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Archaeology, environment zooarchaeology multi-disciplinary multi-proxy isotopes Mesolithic marine
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Jun 2021 13:35

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