Striving for affluence - Active resource management and natural storage in hunter-gatherer societies
Henny Piezonka  1@  , Daniel Groß  2@  , Adam Boethius  3@  
1 : Christian Albrechts University Kiel, Institute of Pre- and Protohistory  (CAU Kiel)  -  Website
Johanna-Mestorf-Straße 2-6, 24118 Kiel -  Allemagne
2 : Center for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeoloy  (ZBSA)  -  Website
Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, Schloss Gottorf, 24837 Schleswig -  Allemagne
3 : Lund University, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History  -  Website
Helgonavägen 3, LUX - Hus A, Lund -  Suède

The severe environmental changes in the Early Holocene resulted in an ever-changing landscape of resources and differentiation of habitats. New resources like hazelnuts became a common element while others such as elk emigrated from previously occupied areas. Such changes must have had severe impact on Mesolithic hunter-gatherer-fishers, leading to adjustments of lifeway, seasonal strategies and also social relations. A specific field concerns seasonally abundant resources that reliably recur every year, which can be regarded as “natural storage” to be counted on by the human groups in their yearly cycle. Ethnographic evidence provides abundant information on strategies incorporating and also managing such “naturally stored” resources by hunter-gatherer-fishers. However, within the archaeological record, available data is scarce, and seasonality information is only preserved under specific conditions.

In this session we want to discuss the relevance of seasonally available resouces, the strategies to exploit these naturally stored provisions, and the impact their incorporation into the subsistence system has on life ways, mobility patterns and also social systems, adressing various questions:

  • What was the role of seasonally available resources such as migratory fish and birds, fish accumulation in specific water bodies in winter, mammals with seasonally varying behaviour and nutrition status, plant resources such as nuts and berries?
  • Were such resources actively managed, and if so, how? Did niche construction strategies (e.g., forest management, directing fish flows, hunting strategies impacting on herd structure, etc.) play a role?
  • How did seasonally abundant reliable resources and their exploitation impact on settlement systems and mobility, and can they be connected to increasing sedentism?
  • What are the societal implications when creating and using long term and large scale storage (e.g., increasing territoriality and intragroup conflict, accumulation leading to aggrandization of individuals, feastings as prestige and as a levelling mechanism, cooperative and communal solutions)?
  • Which impact can such mechanisms and strategies leave in the archaeological record, which method can be used to identify them, and which models can help to understand the underlying economic and social mechanisms?

To address and discuss these questions, we invite archaeological as well as ethnoarchaeological studies that provide approaches to trace storage and resource management in hunter-gatherer-fisher societies and that also reveal pitfalls and scrutinies of our interpretations of the past.

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