Humans in the Environment: Plants, Animals and Landscapes in Mesolithic Britain and Ireland

Nicholas Overton, Barry Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Environmental archaeology has historically been central to Mesolithic studies in Britain and Ireland. Whilst processual archaeology was concerned with the economic significance of the environment, post-processual archaeology later rejected economically driven narratives, resulting in a turn away from plant and animal remains. Post-processual narratives focused instead on enigmatic ‘ritual’ items that economic accounts struggled to suitably explain. Processual accounts of landscapes, grounded in economic determinism, were also rejected in favour of explorations of their sociocultural aspects. However, in moving away from plant and animal remains, such accounts lacked the ability to rigorously explore the specificities of particular landscapes and humans actions within them. This paper will bridge this gap by considering how palaeoecological and zooarchaeological analyses can be used to explore human interactions with plants and animals, which were key in developing understandings and relationships that ultimately structured landscapes, influenced past human actions and shaped archaeological assemblages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of World Prehistory
Early online date29 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Mesolithic Britain and Europe
  • Environmental archaeology
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Human-animal relationships
  • Social Zooarchaeology
  • Multispecies archaeology
  • Prehistory


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