Sinéad McCartan, Rick Schulting, Graeme Warren and Peter Woodman (eds).

Hardback. 2 volumes, 980p (Oxbow Books 2009). Publishers price € 180,00.

Mesolithic Horizons
marks the publication of the proceedings of the seventh international conference on 'The Mesolithic in Europe' (Belfast 2005). The numbers attending these five-yearly conferences continue to grow - testimony to the growing interest in a period that less than fifty years ago was seen by many as either a 'hiatus' between two more interesting periods, or as a poorly understood phase of little consequence. This is an enormous compendium of research published in two volumes with over 140 papers drawn from the whole of Europe, ranging from the European Arctic to many parts of the Mediterranean, and from the British Isles to Russia. These papers cover recent research on virtually all aspects of the European Mesolithic. They are grouped into twelve thematic sections that cover topics as diverse as regional studies which explore settlement, economic identity and mobility, as well as the critical analysis of individual settlement sites, and the significance of ritual. The crucial issue of the process of colonisation that took place at the end of the Ice Age and issues of transitions in the Mesolithic are extensively covered. For the first time the publication of the conference contains an index and consolidated bibliography which will make these volumes invaluable research tools. 

Introduction: Mapping the European Mesolithic (S. K. Kozlowski); The Mesolithic in Europe – some retrospective perspectives (Lars Larsson); The way forward (T. Douglas Price); Ireland’s place in the European Mesolithic: why it’s ok to be different (Peter C. Woodman); The Mesolithic and the 21st century (Marek Zvelebil)

New Lands: Introduction (Peter C. Woodman); Climate change, demography and social relations: an alternative view of the Late Palaeolithic pioneer colonization of southern Scandinavia (Felix Riede); Late Palaeolithic reindeer hunters – from a coastal perspective (Bent Nordqvist); Colonizing seascapes: comparative perspectives on the development of maritime relations in the Pleistocene/Holocene transition in north-west Europe (Hein Bjartmann Bjerck); Entering new shores. Colonization processes in early archipelagos in eastern central Sweden (Roger Wikell and Mattias Pettersson); The flint collection from the Ristola site in Lahti and the cultural contacts of the earliest Postglacial settlement of southern Finland (Henna Takala); The Sujala site in Utsjoki: Post-Swiderian in northern Lapland? (Jarmo Kankaanpää and Tuija Rankama); Hunter-gatherers of the Istrian peninsula: the value of lithic raw material analysis to study small-scale colonization processes (Paolo Pellegatti); Early farmers on the coast: lithic procurement strategies of colonists in the eastern Adriatic (Niels H. Andreasen); The colonisation of eastern alpine territories: the Val di Non case study and the ‘Regole’ field camps (Trento, Italy) (Giampaolo Dalmeri, Klaus Kompatscher, Maria Hrozny Kompatscher, Anna Cusinato and Michele Bassetti)

Mobility: Introduction (C. R. Wickham-Jones); Moving perceptions: movement, mobility and the material dimension (Thomas Kador); Top-down or bottom-up?: Americanist approaches to the study of hunter-gatherer mobility (Douglas B. Bamforth); Are we there yet? Using GIS to investigate paths and landmarks in the Mesolithic of south-west Germany (Harry Starr and Susan Harris); Raw material and settlement strategies at the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary in Trentino (north-eastern Italian Alps): a GIS approach (Fabio Cavulli and Stefano Grimaldi); Evidence of mobility between the coast and the inland region in the Mesolithic of northern Fennoscandia (Mikael A. Manninen); Walking around the Federsee: analyzing mobility and settlement through regional surface survey in south-west Germany (Susan K. Harris, Harry Starr, Michael Jochim and Lynn E. Fisher); One pig does not a winter make. New seasonal evidence at the Early Mesolithic sites of Holmegaard and Mullerup and the Late Mesolithic site of Ertebolle in Denmark (Richard Carter); Deciphering archaeological palimpsests: an example from a Canadian Barrenland caribou hunting camp (Bryan C. Gordon)

People in their Environment: Introduction (Rick Schulting); Coastal perspectives on the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition (Nicky Milner and Eva Laurie); Current research on prehistoric human coastal ecology: Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene hunter-gatherer transitions in north-west Sicily (Marcello A. Mannino and Kenneth D. Thomas); The tragedy of the shoreline? Social ecology of Mesolithic coastal subsistence, with reference to the site of Culverwell, Isle of Portland (southern England) (Marcello A. Mannino and Kenneth D. Thomas); Small game exploitation through the Mediterranean Pleistocene-Holocene transition in southern France: a key resource augmenting the dietary range (Alexandre Bournery); An examination of Mesolithic shellfish gathering activities in the lower Asón river basin (Cantabria, Espana) (F. Igor Gutiérrez Zugasti); Stone Age settlement sites on an environmentally sensitive coastal area along the lower reaches of the River Pärnu (south-western Estonia), as indicators of changing settlement patterns, technologies and economies (Aivar Kriiska and Lembi Lõugas); Automating the extrapolation of sea-level displacement curves: implications for Mesolithic research in western Norway (David N. Simpson); Shells, seals and ceramics: an evaluation of a midden at West Voe, Sumburgh, Shetland, 2004-5 (Nigel D. Melton); Mesolithic elk (Alces alces L.) from Zamostje 2 (Russia) (Louis Chaix); Animal bone studies and the perception of animals in Mesolithic society (Anna Mansrud); Cultural small-scale variations in a hunter-gatherer society: or ‘everybody wants to be a little bit different!’ An ethnoarchaeological study from Siberia (Ole Grøn, Torunn Klokkernes and Michail G. Turov); Stable Isotopic Reconstruction of Early Mesolithic Diet at Pupicina Cave (Clea Paine, Tamsin O’Connell and Preston T. Miracle); Human colonisation routes and the origins of Irish mammals (Ceiridwen J. Edwards, Daniel G. Bradley); The ecology of hazel (Corylus avellana) nuts in Mesolithic Ireland (Anne M. G. McComb)

People and Places: Introduction (Sinéad McCartan); Settlement patterns, landscape and society in western Norway during the Late Mesolithic (Sigrid Mannsåker Gundersen); Mesolithic inland settlement in southern Norway (Per Persson); The settlement patterns of the Maglemose culture on Bornholm, Denmark. Some preliminary results and hypotheses (Claudio Casati and Lasse Sørensen); People and places in the Latvian Mesolithic: a case study from the Zvejnieki archaeological complex (Ilga Zagorska); Dabrowa Biskupia 71: A Specialized Camp from the Maglemose Culture (Lucyna Domanska and Marcin Was); Early Holocene landscape dynamics and forager land use diversity: the example of Hoge Vaart-A27 (Almere, The Netherlands) (Hans Peeters); Mesolithic territories and land-use systems in north-western Belgium (Joris Sergant, Philippe Crombé and Yves Perdaen); Mesolithic settlement and land use in the Campine region (Belgium) (Marc De Bie and Marijn Van Gils); Upland colonization: patterns of settling and habitation in northern Istria, Croatia (Dark Komšo); People and their land at the southern margins of the central Po Plain in the Early Mesolithic (Federica Fontana, Maria Giovanna Cremona, Erika Ferrari, Federico Guarisco and Davide Mengoli); A view from the edges: the Mesolithic settlement of the interior areas of the Iberian Peninsula reconsidered (Pablo Arias, Enrique Cerrillo, Esteban Álvarez, Eloy Gómez Pellón and Antonio González); Recent developments in Early Holocene hunter-gatherer subsistence and settlement: a view from south-western Iberia (Maria João Valente and António Faustino Carvalho); Mesolithic people in an open Mediterranean wetland (Andrea L. Balbo , Darko Komšo and Preston T. Miracle); Occupation in a submerged Mesolithic landscape (Garry Momber, Julie Satchell and Jan Gillespie)

Regional Identities: Introduction (Graeme Warren); Flint procurement in the French Alps during the Mesolithic: deciphering economic and cultural territories (Céline Bressy); The power of place and regional identity in the British south-western Mesolithic (Clive Jonathon Bond); Worm’s Head and Caldey Island (south Wales, UK) and the question of Mesolithic territories (Rick Schulting); Show me how you make your hunting equipment and I will tell you where you come from: technical traditions, an efficient means of characterizing cultural identities (Eva David); Being-in-the-(Mesolithic) world: place, substance and person in the Mesolithic of western Scotland (Hannah L. Cobb); Man-landscape relations in Varanger, Finnmark, northern Norway (Maria Westrum Solem); Feast in the forest: creating a common cultural identity in the interior of the Scandinavian Peninsula in the Late Mesolithic (Silje Elisabeth Fretheim); Ynys Enlli: shifting horizons (Mark Edmonds, John Roberts, Robert Johnston, Emily La Trobe-Bateman and Graeme Warren); In the middle, not in between: Svärdbäraren in its regional context (Jenny Holm); ‘Foreign in origin and local in pattern’: Mesolithic pottery around the Baltic Sea (Fredrik Hallgren)

Dwellings: Introduction (Joan Zilhão); Is home where the heart is? Reflections around Early Mesolithic sites, exemplified with results from an excavation on coastal south-western Norway (Astrid J. Nyland); Different ways of building, different ways of living: Mesolithic house structures in western Norway (Leif Inge Åstveit); Island settlements and the use of space: maritime hunter-fisher occupation over 11,000 years at Melkoya, northern Norway (Morten Ramstad); Two houses and 186,000 artefacts. Spatial organization at the Late Mesolithic site of Strandvägen, Sweden (Tom Carlsson); Alyst: a settlement complex with hut structures from the Early Mesolithic on Bornholm, Denmark (Claudio Casati and Lasse Sørensen); Virtual hypothesis: the Maglemosian huts at Alyst, Bornholm. Preliminary thoughts on the morphology of dwellings on a Maglemosian site (Nicolai Garhøj Larsen); Find concentrations and dwelling structures. The interpretation of Final Palaeolithic find scatters (Frank Gelhausen, Jan Kegler and Stefan Wenzel); Along the shores of the Ancylus Lake. Trädgårdstorp and other coastal Mesolithic settlement sites during the Late Ancylus period in western Ostergotland (Fredrik Molin); Dwellings and graves from the Late Mesolithic site of Nivå 10, eastern Denmark (Ole Lass Jensen); Dreams and Landscapes: Mesolithic archaeology under water (Ole Grøn); Them bones: midden sites as a defining characteristic of the Scottish Mesolithic (C. R. Wickham-Jones); South-western regional identities: Birdcombe, Totty Pot and Hawkcombe Head (Paula J. Gardiner)

Transitions: Introduction (Rick Schulting); From Magdalenian to Early Neolithic: hunter-gatherers in transition in north-eastern Iberia (Pilar García-Argüelles, Jordi Nadal and Josep M. Fullola); The end of the Mesolithic in western France: from taphonomy to the understanding of prehistoric territories (Gregory Marchand); New perspectives on the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition in northern Italy (Thomas Perrin); Seasonal resource scheduling in the Mesolithic and Neolithic of Scotland (Rachel L. Parks); The paleoecological and paleodietary significance of edible land snails (Helix sp.) across the Pleistocene-Holocene transition on the eastern Adriatic coast (Mia Rizner, Nikola Vukosavljevic and Preston Miracle); Hunter-gatherer adaptations during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition in Portugal: data and explanatory models (Ana Cristina Araújo); Lollikhuse, a site from the transitional phase between the Mesolithic and Neolithic in Denmark (Søren A. Sørensen); Dabki revisited: new evidence on the question of earliest cattle use in Pomerania (J. Kabacinski, D. Heinrich and T. Terberger); Hunters and fishers in a changing world. Investigations on submerged Stone Age sites off the Baltic coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany (Harald Lübke); The neolithisation of the Belgian lowlands: new evidence from the Scheldt Valley (Philippe Crombé, Joris Sergant and Yves Perdaen); Interaction, exchange and imitation. Some short and preliminary notes on the distribution of Breitkeile in Belgium and the Netherlands and its implications for the transition from Mesolithic to Neolithic (Leo B. M. Verhart); Confronting important animals (Trond Lødøen); The phase of transformation in western Norway (Thomas Bruen Olsen); Transition to farming in western Norway seen as a rapid replacement of landscapes (Asle Bruen Olsen)

Ritual in Context: Introduction (Ericka Engelstad) Caught in the middle: functional and ideological aspects of Mesolithic shores in Norway (Knut Andreas Bergsvik); Between the rock and the sea: site location and ritual practise in the Mesolithic in eastern central Sweden (Christina Lindgren); What goes where? Intrasite studies of depositions of Maglemosian art and flint picks of the Maglemose and Kongemose cultures (Peter Andreas Toft); Soul-trips to the underworld? Interpretations of a decorated slate pickaxe from western Sweden (Robert Hernek); Prehistory as a continuum in the discussion of continuity and change in Britain, 16,000 to 6000 cal BP (Stella M. Blockley); New radiocarbon dates from the Stone Age graves at Dragsholm, Denmark (T. Douglas Price, Erik Brinch Petersen and Michael P. Richards); From single graves to cemeteries: an initial look at chronology in Mesolithic burial practice (Christopher Meiklejohn, Erik Brinch Petersen and Jeff Babb); Burials in the cave: new evidence on mortuary practices during the Mesolithic of Cantabrian Spain (Pablo Arias, Angel Armendariz, Rodrigo de Balbín, Miguel A. Fano, Juan Fernández-Tresguerres, Manuel R. González Morales, María José Iriarte , Roberto Ontañón, Javier Alcolea, Esteban Álvarez-Fernández, Francisco Etxeberria, María Dolores Garralda, Mary Jackes and Álvaro Arrizabalaga); Coping with cadavers: ritual practices in Mesolithic cemeteries (Liv Nilsson Stutz); Symbols around the body: tooth ornaments from the graves at the Zvejnieki cemeteries, northern Latvia (Lars Larsson)

Understanding the Social Context: Introduction (Nyree Finlay); Dogs and people, an arising relationship: Canis familiaris amongst hunter-gatherer societies in the Iberian Peninsula (Cristina García-Moncó); Wood and wild animals: towards an understanding of a Mesolithic world (Steven Price); Transforming bodies: mortuary practices in Mesolithic Britain (Chantal Conneller); Fishy settlement patterns and their social significance: a case study from the northern Midlands of Ireland (Aimée Little); A Mesolithic social landscape in south-west Britain: the Somerset Levels and Mendip Hills (Clive Jonathon Bond); Sounds like sociality: new research on lithic contexts in Mesolithic Caithness (Steve Mills and Amelia Pannett); The identification of children’s flint knapping products in Mesolithic Scandinavia (Farina Sternke and Mikkel Sørensen); An experimental analysis of perforated shells from the site of .ebrn Abri (Istria), Croatia (Samuel Benghiat, Darko Komšo and Preston T. Miracle); From sharing to giving: handling the inequality of things at the end of the Mesolithic (Roger Edenmo)

Understanding Mesolithic Technology: Introduction (Sheila Coulson); The illustration of Mesolithic artefacts and its contribution to the understanding of Mesolithic technology (Alan Saville); From the mountain to the sea: an ethnographic perspective for the Early Mesolithic settlement dynamics in north-eastern Italy (Stefano Grimaldi and Elisabetta Flor); Early Mesolithic hunting strategies in the north-eastern Italian Alps: an experimental analyses (Stefano Grimaldi); Tools and colour in Mesolithic Scotland (Karen Hardy, Steven Birch and Robert S. Shiel); Foragers in the alpine Rhine valley. Interpreting two Mesolithic rockshelters near Koblach in Vorarlberg, Austria (Sonja Laus); Macrolithic Industries of the Portuguese Mesolithic: a human adaptive response (Ana Cristina Araújo, Francisco Almeida and M. João Valente); ‘Rulers’ of southern Sweden: technological aspects of a rediscovered tool (Arne Sjöström and Björn Nilsson); One problem – many solutions: strategies of lithic raw material procurement in Mesolithic Europe (Laurent-Jacques Costa and Farina Sternke); Variability of lithic resource exploitation systems in northern Italy during the early Holocene: the case-studies of Mondeval de Sora (Belluno) and I.N.F.S. (Bologna) (Federica Fontana and Antonio Guerreschi)

Flint Alternatives: Introduction (Kjel S. Å. Knutsson); Quartz analyses of the Kaaraneskoski site, Lapland (Tuija Rankama); Ways to interpret quartz (Karl-Fredrik Lindberg); Percussion events by the shore: a comparative approach to the manufacture and use of quartz in Uppland, Sweden (Per Falkenström); Flintknappers or quartzknappers? The procurement of different types of quartz in south-east Mesolithic Norway (Lotte Eigeland); Recent stone tool use and material culture of the Wola, Papua New Guinea (Karen Hardy); Petrography and mechanics of the Armorican Massif rocks: the impact on Late Mesolithic industries in western France (Rodrigue Tsobgou Ahoupe); Production and use of Mesolithic groundstone axes and adzes in Zealand, Denmark: description, production, distribution and status (Susanne Ritz Nicolaisen); The elusive flint: raw materials and lithic technology in the Mesolithic of eastern Asturias, Spain (Pablo Arias, Patricia Fernández and Celia Marcos)

Current Research: The transition to the Holocene in the Bajo Asón Basin (Cantabria, Spain): an archaeozoological point of view (Ana Belen Marin Arroyo); Mesolithic human remains from Poza l’Egua and Colomba caves (Asturias, Spain) (Labib Drak and María Dolores Garralda); An assessment of our knowledge, the main problems of research, and current investigations with regard to the Mesolithic of Cantabrian Spain (9th–6th millennium cal BC) (Miguel Ángel Fano); Hermitage, Ireland: life and death on the western edge of Europe (Tracy Collins); The early prehistory in the west of Ireland: investigations into the social archaeology of the Mesolithic, west of the Shannon, Ireland (Killian Driscoll); Lake-platforms at Lough Kinale – memory, reach and place: a Discovery Programme Project in the Irish midlands (Christina Fredengren); Reconstructing Mesolithic palaeodiet using dental microwear analysis (T. Rowan McLaughlin); The excavation of Late Mesolithic fish trap remains from the Liffey estuary, Dublin, Ireland (Melanie McQuade and Lorna O’Donnell); Lakeside developments in County Meath, Ireland: a Late Mesolithic fishing platform and possible mooring at Clowanstown 1 (Matt Mossop); The development and historiography of pollen studies in the Mesolithic of the Scottish islands (Kevin J. Edwards); Molluscan studies of the Danish Mesolithic-Neolithic shell-midden Krabbesholm II: new information concerning the marine and terrestrial environment (Nina Nielsen).


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