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Durham e-Theses
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Global Hunting Adaptations to Early Holocene Temperate Forests: Intentional Dog Burials as Evidence of Hunting Strategies

PERRI, ANGELA,RAY (2013) Global Hunting Adaptations to Early Holocene Temperate Forests: Intentional Dog Burials as Evidence of Hunting Strategies. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The close connection between humans and dogs in the prehistoric past, often with a focus on a hunting relationship, has long been proposed, yet has rarely been evaluated. This thesis investigates parallels in environment, culture, adaptation and dog mortuary phenomenon among three complex hunter-gatherer groups in the early Holocene. Although dog domestication appears to have occurred in the late Upper Palaeolithic, the first instances of intentional, individual dog burials are not seen until after the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition. These burials appear nearly simultaneously among culturally and geographically unrelated early Holocene complex hunter-gatherers in three distinct locations: the midsouth United States, northern Europe and eastern Japan; coinciding with the onset of significant postglacial warming that triggered dramatic environmental change throughout the northern temperate zone; specifically the establishment of temperate deciduous forests. Along with this new environment came new ungulate prey species, and with the new prey species important hunting adaptations by humans. Ethnozooarchaeological fieldwork conducted with modern hunters in the United States and Japan, along with additional ethnographic material confirms the use of hunting dogs in temperate deciduous forests as a preferred method which yields improved results, in contrast to boreal forests or open tundra, where dogs can be a detriment. In densely forested environments, prey species often rely on concealment, rather than flight, to escape predators and human hunters. Dogs give vital assistance to hunters in these conditions, performing superhuman tasks such as locating concealed prey, tracking wounded animals, and bringing them to bay. This thesis presents a previously unidentified link between the first worldwide occurrences of individual, intentional dog burials and changes in hunting environments and prey species brought about by early Holocene climate change.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:zooarchaeology, dog burials, hunting adaptations, archaeology, climate change
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Nov 2013 14:19

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