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Mesolithic sessions at EAA

posted 16 Mar 2012, 05:09 by Pat Hadley   [ updated 23 May 2012, 06:42 ]
In addition to the recent announcement of conferences specifically related to the Mesolithic (see the hompage) there are several relevant sessions running at the European Association of Archaeology conference in HelsinkiThe conference takes place 29 August-1 September 2012.

The deadline for abstracts for EAA is 31 March 2012 (two weeks away!). Make submissions using this call for papers. 

European Hunter‐Gatherer Bog‐sites: Data, Models, Perspectives

Organisers: Lars Larsson (University of Lund; Sweden), Harald Lübke (Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology; Germany) and Nicky Milner (University of York; UK)

European hunter‐gatherer bog sites with well‐preserved organics have an enormous importance for the understanding of our past especially for the temperate climatic zone north of the Alps. They enrich our understanding of this important period not only because of their well preserved rare cultural material but also because of their high resolution climatic and environmental records. Sites of this early part of human history are very rare; and so the bog sites, with excellent organic preservation, provide a unique insight into past lives. In addition, interdisciplinary collaboration and cutting edge scientific methods are enabling high‐resolution palaeo‐climatic and environmental change to be modelled which can be used to discover how these people reacted to and adapted to periods of extreme changes of their environment at the end of the Ice Age and the early Holocene. However, over many parts of Europe this resource is under threat due to current climate change and modern farming practices and extraction of peat, resulting in rapid peat degradation and the destruction of this valuable archaeological heritage. This session aims at sharing information on cutting‐edge scientific methodologies and to evaluate the threats to this valuable cultural resource. The purpose is to gather together specialists who work on bog sites which have produced evidence of hunter-gatherers from the end of the last Ice Age to the introduction of farming. Presentations on the following topics are requested:
- The archaeological resource at bog sites across Europe.
- Cutting edge and innovative techniques through interdisciplinary collaboration.
- Assessing the risks to the cultural heritage resource.
- Engagement of a wider audience.
It is anticipated that through discussion of the various themes, the session will stimulate the growing interest of the scientific community in new areas of research on Mesolithic bog sites and collaboration on a European level.

Hunter-Gatherer Responses to Diminishing Resources

Organisers: Mikael A. Manninen (University of Helsinki; Finland), Miikka Tallavaara (University of Helsinki; Finland), Esa Hertell (University of Helsinki; Finland) and Kjel Knutsson (Uppsala University; Sweden) 

The growing rate of resource depletion is a current and worldwide problem and diminishing resources were and still are a problem also for many hunter-gatherer societies.  Climatic and environmental fluctuations, demographic changes and pressure from neighboring agricultural societies could have led to different kinds of consequences that hunter-gatherers had to cope with, such as raw material scarcity and decreasing game density.
It is also known that the abundances of different resources are often not positively correlated and that in many situations tradeoffs exist between different resources.  For instance, during the post-glacial coloniza¬tion of northernmost Europe access to sources of cryptocrystalline lithic raw materials was gradually se¬vered at the same time as new territory was gained.
 his session focuses on the archaeological signatures of the ways past and present hunter-gatherers have coped with situations where resources diminish or are depleted, as well as on the theoretical approaches applied when studying these strategies. For example, according to foraging models, an effective response to a decrease in the abundance of the highest ranking game species is a diversification of the food base.
The responsive strategies to be discussed can include, but are not restricted to, intensified or diversified technological and foraging practices, proactive modification of the environment (niche construction), as well as new social strategies and innovations. We invite papers that discuss these themes from different perspec¬tives without any chronological or geographical restrictions.