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Transitions of specialized foragers

Dr. Harald Lübke, Dr. Ulrich Schmölcke, Dr. John Meadows, Dr. S. Hartz (ALM)

The project B2 “Transitions of Specialized Foragers“ is part of the collaborative research centre (CRC) 1266 “Scales of Transformation: Human-environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies“ that was accepted for funding at the Christina-Albrechts-University Kiel by the DFG (German Research Foundation) in 2016. As part of the focus “Transformations of socio-economic formations” the project examines how socio-environmental transformations affected Early and Mid-Holocene hunter-gatherer-societies.

Focus will be laid upon the social transformations, which are traceable in cultural (e.g. material culture, settlement strategies) and economical (e.g. subsistence strategies, raw material procurement, mobility) forms, and co-occurrences of environmental events (e.g. extreme climate events, seasonality). Using proxy data derived from environmental research, like pollen data, lake level reconstructions or temperature reconstructions, and archaeological excavations, we can learn about possible relationships of social transformations and environmental conditions. Thus it will be possible to detect interdependent and independent transformations of Early and Mid-Holocene hunter-gatherer communities and their environmental context. Finally we will be able to see whether and when climatic or vegetation changes impacted those people and if and how they themselves affected or manipulated their environment. Apart from this, driving factors for social transformation can be ruled out, identified and, seen in a comparative perspective, differentiated between external and/or internal factors driving these.


Contrary to the project B1 “Pioneers of the North: Transitions and transformations in Northern Europe evidenced by high-resolution datasets (c. 15,000-9,500 BCE)“ (Berit V. Eriksen, Post-Doc: Sonja Grimm, Doctoral student: Sascha Krüger) several well-investigated micro-regions are used in B2 for understanding local processes and social as well as environmental interactions and thus provide sound regional archaeological and environmental investigations. Scaling from micro to macro regions will enable us to compare local with global events and transformations. The projects B1 and B2 form the project group “complex foragers” that stands at the beginning of the time period studied by the CRC and that has its very own questions to human-environmental interactions.

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