The Meso-Neolithic Transition in the Alpine and Peri-Alpine Region: Still Open to Debate
Philippe Della Casa  1@  
1 : University of Zurich  (UZH)  -  Website

Despite intensified field research and re-evaluations of existing contexts, the period of transition between the Mesolithic occupation of the inner and peri-alpine area and the establishement of a sedentary agricultural Neolithic still remains widely unknown. This is in many regions due to a lack of sites with an appropriate archaeological material basis, but also to problems of terminological, chronological and technological resolution. The late 7th to 5th millenium BCE is incompletely documented, in particular in the central Alpine region.

Of the many scenarios conceivable, a persistence of a late Mesolithic way of life – e.g. a subsistence economy largely based on hunting and gathering – into the 6th and possibly 5th millenium deserves some attention, since it would bridge the gap between the attested late Mesolithic presence and the advent of the first Neolithic communities shortly before 5000 BCE in the Valais and Leventina, and around 4300 BCE on the Swiss Plateau.

This raises the question of processes of transmission, acculturation and tradition, topics that are not new in the discussion of the Meso-/Neolithic transition, but that need an adapted framework of analysis in the alpine and peri-alpine regions due to their specific topographic, climatic and resource situation. This paper will investigate some of these contexts.


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