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Mesolithic projectile variability along the southern North Sea basin (NW Europe) : hunter-gatherer responses to repeated climate change at the beginning of the Holocene

  • Crombé, Philippe
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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This paper investigates how former hunter-gatherers living along the southern North Sea coast in NW Europe adapted to long-term and short-term climatic and environmental changes at the beginning of the Holocene. It is argued that contemporaneous hunter-gatherers repeatedly changed their hunting equipment in response to changing climate and environment, not just for functional reasons but mainly driven by socio-territorial considerations. Based on a Bayesian analysis of 122 critically selected radiocarbon dates a broad chronological correlation is demonstrated between rapid changes in the design and technology of stone projectiles and short but abrupt cooling events, occurring at 10.3, 9.3 and 8.2 ka cal BP. Combined with the rapid sea level rises and increased wildfires these climatic events probably impacted the lifeways of hunter-gatherers in such a way that they increasingly faced resource stress and competition, forcing them to invest in the symbolic defense of their social territories.

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