Hunting beyond red deer: exploring species patterning in Early Mesolithic faunal assemblages in Britain and north-western Europe

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Abstract

Narratives of Mesolithic hunting strategies in Britain and wider north-western Europe have previously conceived of ‘red deer economies’, in which life revolved, to a great extent, around the procurement of this species. Such subsistence models have subsequently influenced models of seasonal transhumance and interpretations of site-use and flint assemblages. Although over the last 40 years the importance and exclusivity of red deer, and the suitability of subsequent models of movement and seasonality have been challenged, the species remains, to an extent, a symbol of Mesolithic hunting. This paper compares the frequency of species from four re-analyzed sites in southern Britain with those from previously analyzed sites in northern Britain and northern France to explore the geographical and temporal shifts in species killed during the Early Mesolithic. Moving beyond single-species monolithic hunting strategies and large-scale models of transhumance, the variety of species hunted highlights the need to consider Mesolithic hunting strategies that undertook a range of tasks and encountered numerous different species with changing local populations, within a mosaic of different environments
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForaging assemblages
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the ninth international conference on the Mesolithic in Europe
EditorsDušan Borić, Dragana Antonović, Bojana Mihailović
Place of PublicationBelgrade ; New York
PublisherSerbian Archaeological Society
Chapter62
Pages416-421
Number of pages6
Volume2
ISBN (Electronic)9788680094151, 9788680094168
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Mesolithic
  • Britain
  • ungulates
  • red deer hunting

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