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2. MESOLITHIC (c.9500 - c.4000 cal BC): RESEARCH AGENDA #

Click here to see strategies recommended for addressing agenda themes and topics for this period.
2.1 Periods of transition
  1. What can we deduce about the transition from late-glacial to early post-glacial hunter-gatherer societies?
  2. What can analyses of sites contribute to studies of continuity and change during the Mesolithic period?
  3. How may we elucidate further the transition from the later Mesolithic to the earlier Neolithic?

2.2 Spatial distribution of activity

  1. How were open-air and cave/rock shelter sites distributed across the region, and how might the pattern of activity have changed over time?
  2. How were sites distributed across low-lying and upland areas, and in particular how many sites might be concealed beneath alluvium, colluvium and other masking deposits or beneath the sea?
  3. How can HER records be updated to permit study of changing activity patterns between the earlier and later Mesolithic periods?
  4. How can we ensure the extension of fieldwalking surveys to previously untargeted areas, and in particular to comparatively poorly studied landscapes (e.g. Coal Measures)?

2.3 Identification of site types

  1. How were caves and rock shelters utilised in this period and what was their relationship to open sites?
  2. How far may studies of the size, shape and locational characteristics of lithic scatters and analyses of the associated lithic artefacts contribute to the identification of site types in the later and earlier Mesolithic?
  3. What range of structural remains may survive on open-air sites across the region (particularly below alluvium and other masking deposits)?
  4. How can we enhance the lithic scatter data retrieved during fieldwalking to clarify the size and shape of activity foci?
  5. How far can we elucidate by targeted excavation the character of sites represented by surface lithic scatters?

2.4 Lithic artefact chronologies

  1. Can we refine further by detailed typological analyses of survey and excavation the chronology of Mesolithic lithic industries, and in particular those overlapping Late Upper Palaeolithic and earlier Neolithic traditions?
  2. How far may radiocarbon dating contribute to refinement of lithic artefact chronologies?
  3. Can we elucidate the potential impact of environmental change upon lithic artefact technology?
  4. Can we shed further light upon variations in the lithic assemblages surviving in earlier and later Mesolithic industries?

2.5 Production, distribution and use of lithic artefacts

  1. How precisely can we define the sources of lithic raw materials and the routes of movement of raw materials and/or finished artefacts?
  2. Can we define with greater precision the spatial extent of typologically distinctive lithic assemblage types (Star Carr-type, Deepcar-type, etc.) and what may these distribution patterns imply?
  3. What light may further site-based studies of lithic reduction sequences shed upon spatial and temporal variations in the organisation of lithic production and changes in lithic technology?

2.6 Environmental change and food procurement strategies
Bilaterally barbed later Mesolithic antler harpoon from the Trent riverbank at Long Eaton, Derbyshire or Thrumpton, Nottinghamshire; length 98mm (reproduced by permission of Ann Inscker, Nottingham City Museums & Galleries)

  1. What can analyses of cave deposits, palaeochannel fills, upland peats and other deposits with potential for preserved pollen, charcoal and other organic remains contribute to studies of the earliest stages of woodland clearance and plant domestication?
  2. How can we maximise the potential of palaeochannels, upland or coastal peats and other organically rich deposits as sources of data on Early Holocene landscapes and changes in subsistence strategies and diet?
  3. How far may studies of Mesolithic diet and mobility patterns be advanced by stable isotope analyses of human bone?

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  This page (revision-139) was last changed on 22-Jun-2017 14:04 by Tina Roushannafas