Being Mesolithic in Life and Death

Hannah Cobb, Amy Gray Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifty years ago, approaches to Mesolithic identity were limited to ideas of ‘Man the Hunter’ and ‘Woman the Gatherer’, while evidence of non-normative practice was ascribed to ‘shamans’ and to ‘ritual’, and that was that. As post-processual critiques have touched Mesolithic studies, however, this has changed. In the first decade of the 21st century a strong body of work on Mesolithic identity in life, as well as death, has enabled us to think beyond modern Western categories to interpret identity in the Mesolithic. These studies have addressed the nature of personhood and relational identities, the body, and the relationship between human and other-than-human persons. Our paper reviews these changing approaches, offering a series of case studies from a range of different sites that illustrate how identity is formed and transformed through engagements with landscapes, materials, and both living and dead persons. These are then developed to advocate an assemblage approach to identity in the Mesolithic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-383
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of World Prehistory
Issue number3
Early online date25 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


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