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Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherer Complexity Mesolithic

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1 Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherer Complexity Mesolithic
Development of Ceramics Neolithic

2 Hunter-Gatherer Complexity
Stereotype “Hunter-gatherers move around alot and live in small groups” Based on living, marginal groups such as the !Kung San and the Inuit. Much greater diversity. Conditions for more complexity Higher-than normal pop, concentrated in relatively small areas such as river valleys, circumscribed by geography and neighbors. More intense, diverse, specialized food gathering. Food storage and preservation Permanent and nearly permanet settlements, often linear. Highly developed food procurement and processing technologies. Divison of labor. Simple social ranking. Trade. More elaborate ritual and ceremonial beliefs.

3 Mesolithic in Europe Mesolithic forest and coastal h-gs replaced tundra reindeer hunters around 13,000 b.p. Not impoverished as earlier thought but rich in wildlife such as red and roe deer, many plant foods. Coast, estuaries very productive. Called affluent foragers. Distinct cultures of the Upper Paleolithic covering areas of over 38 k sq miles, but in the Holocene reduced to 6 k sq miles and many different zones and territories. European Mesolithic ended around 8,000 B.P. with the spread of agriculture.

4 Discovery of a Mesolithic burial at Mezzocorona, Trento, Italy
The modern town of Mezzocorona is located north of Trento, in the Adige valley, by the northern margin of the Rotaliana plain, a fertile alluvial fan at the confluence of the Noce stream and the river Adige.

5 In the Autumn of 1995 archaeological investigations were resumed in collaboration with the Museo Tridentino di Scienze Naturali and the University of Trento, in order to investigate the Mesolithic residual deposits. A one square metre trial trench was thus excavated by the rockwall. Right at the end of the excavation period a mound of stones was uncovered, just under the rockwall. Digging was concentrated in the area of the foresaid mound of stones under which a burial dated to the late Sauveterrian (early Mesolithic) was brought to light.

6 The burial was formed by a shallow grave, oriented east-west; the eastern and western walls were slightly inclined, whereas the northern and southern ones were almost vertical. Inside the grave, a skeleton, probably of a female aged over 30 years, lied in a supine position. She was oriented east-west, with her face looking south, her hands on the stomach and her feet slightly on top of one another. Both here head and feet were positioned above her pelvic girdle. No grave goods were present. A preliminary analysis of the skeleton, which was well preserved, showed that she had lost her molar teeth from some time as the roots had filled in naturally; possible bone paleo-pathologies on the lower and upper limbs were also remarked.


8 NW Europe & Scandinavia
Maglemose Period ( B.P.) Seasonal exploitation of rivers, lakes and terrestrial hunting. Inland spring and summer settlements are represented by the Ulkestrup site in Denmark. People lived in large huts with bark and wood floors on a peat island near a lake. Used canoes, one paddle was found preserved. people fished with bone and antler barbed points, trapped birds and hunted red deer, wild ox and pig. In fall bands foraged for hazlenuts and other plants, elk and other game were hunted, fishing less important. Starr Carr, England

9 Starr Carr Starr Carr in Yorkshire was a typical Mesolithic site in England. Around 9,500BP about 20 individuals inhabited the site. They used stone axes and adzes to fell trees, and made a variety of barbed bone and antler spear points. Hunting was the main activity, with red deer, elk, aurochs, and roe deer being the main prey. Hunters used long wooden arrows tipped with small flint blades that were set in the shaft with tree resin. Dogs assisted in hunting. Hazelnuts were collected in the autumn and perhaps stored.

10 Scandinavia Kongemose Period (7700-6600 B.P.)
Baltic sea coast sites, along bays and near lagoons, exploitation of marine and terrestrial resources. Segebro settlement (larger than earlier ones) which is now submerged in brackish water. occupied year round, but mainly in spring and summer. carbon isotope analysis of human bone show that fish and sea mammals were major diet.

11 Scandinavia Ertebolle Period (6600-5200 B.P.)
Culmination of Mesolithic culture, occupying coastal settlements year round, wide range of food resources, wide variety of tools. Greater social complexity, such as cemetaries and more diverse technology. Vedbok Bogebakken cemetary had at least 22 people of different ages buried. extended positions. grave goods. some showing evidence of violent death, such as projectile points embedded in bone.

12 Southwest Asia (Mediterranean and Middle East)
Transition to more complex hunter-gatherers-Kebaran cultures (14-12,000 B.P.). Small and highly mobile hunter-gatherer bands, found in a wide variety of environments, variation in tool kits. 11,000 B.P. significant environmental and vegetational changes. more concentrated stands of wild cereal grains (emmer wheat, barley, etc.) and nuts (almonds and pistachios). harvestable over longer periods of time, less temperature sensitive.

13 Franchthi Cave, Greece Characterized by two new developments:
(1) the appearance of large quantities of fish bones, particularly those of large fish; (2) the appearance of substantially larger quantities of obsidian from Melos as a material in the local chipped stone industry. These two developments were initially considered to be closely related and to show that the inhabitants of Franchthi Cave not only sailed to Melos (150 kms. away) for obsidian but also fished in deep water for the first time. There is still no pottery or architecture.



16 Burial at Franchthi The earliest burial found at Franchthi is of Mesolithic date: a 25-year-old male buried in a contracted position in a shallow pit near the mouth of the cave. The pit was covered with fist-sized stones; there were no burial goods; the young man had died from blows to the forehead, but he seems to have already been suffering severely from malaria.


18 SW Asia By 10,000 B.P. people began to more intensively exploit these plant resources called the Natufians. exploited wild emmer and barley, nuts, gazelle hunting also important. larger populations, more sedentary hamlets, clear signs of social ranking .

19 Pottery in Ancient Times
Coil (vessel built from clay or with long coils by hand). Mold (vessel built from lump of clay that is pressed into a concave mold or over a convex mold). Wheel (potter’s wheel invented in Mesopotamia ca. 5,000 B.P.-clay rotated on platform and formed with hands).

20 Clay Preparation CLAYS can be found near the ocean or by inland streams and ponds. The clay formed when tiny bits of dirt carried by streams sank and settled in still water ponds. Clays must be plastic enough to be rolled into a coil and bent without breaking.

21 Adding Temper TEMPER may be crushed shell, sand, broken pottery bits, or plant material. Up to 1/10 of the clay mixture can be made up of temper for very fine natural clays. Tempering pottery makes it able to take rapid changes in temperature when placed in a fire.

22 Pinching Pinch thumbs into the center of a ball of clay. Squeeze on the Inside with your fingers on the outside of the pot. Continue squeezing and rotating the pot until the walls of the vessel are about 1/4 in. thick. 2. Place the base in a hollow in the ground, or in a bowl shaped vessel which can be rotated easily by the potter as the pot is built up.

23 Coiling The coils ore rolled between the palms of the hands or rolled against a flat surface in a back and forth and center to ends direction. Coils range from 1/2 to 1 inch in thickness. To be joined properly, the coils should be roughened using a moistened stiff brush. This helps seal out any air when the calls are squeezed 10gether, and helps keep the coil moist while it is being added to the pot.

24 Shaping and Smoothing

25 Decoration Shell edge or back of shell can be stamped and/or dragged in the clay. Cord Wrapped Paddle: used to compress the coils, leaving parallel impressions of cordage. Pointed Stick: used to make incised lines or dots on a pot. Net and Textiles: a layer keeps dirt away from the surface of a pot & leaves its mark.

26 Shell Tool Shell Tool Impression/Design

27 Cord-Wrapped Paddle Paddle with wrapped cordage Impression

28 Netting/Textiles Loose Netting Impression

29 Pointed Stick Stick Punctations and Lines

30 Firing Structure

31 Firing Results Four of the pots after firing -- the black marks on the pots are not soot, they do not wash off... the marks are from the differences in oxidation and reduction of the clay; where the pot is orange, it was more open to the air (oxidized); where the pot is black, the air was cut off (reduced).

32 Otzi & Neolithic The Ice Man

33 Found by 2 hikers in 1991 Originally thought to be the body of a modern-day mountaineer who had died while out climbing Named “Otzi” after the Otztaler region of the Alps where he was found

34 The Otztaler Alps

35 Recovery A team of men, uneducated in archaeology or recovery, chipped away at the ice unsuccessfully. Despite warnings that the corpse may be of significance, no archaeologist was present as he was dug up by a forensic scientist who used an ice pick and a ski pole. Result of the recovery was damage to the right leg of the body

36 Otzi’s Preservation The body was never exposed to the surface of the glacier before it was found There was no weathering of the skin or the leather found with him No evidence of temperature changes The body was perfectly preserved due to the constantly frozen climate

37 How Old is Otzi? 5300 years old Dates to the Neolithic period
This period is associated with metal tools and weapons, and sedentary horticultural settlements

38 The Neolithic Otzi carried many Neolithic goods and tools, including: quiver with a bow and arrows, flint dagger, copper axe, framed backpack, fire making kit, 3 layers of clothing, dried fruit and other foods, bearskin hat, assortment of fungi that could be used for medicinal purposes Pictured above: (L) Copper axe (R) Flint Dagger

39 Objects found with Otzi

40 More Objects

41 More Clues about the Neolithic
Medicine and Ritual Tattoos-body art or therapy? Otzi’s last meal consisted of goat meat and bread that was cooked in a charcoal oven

42 Who was Otzi? First thought to be a farmer or Shepard or primitive worker These theories have been thrown out due to the absence of wool, and his tools and weapons were too extensive for a farmer Could not have been a hunter because most of his arrows were broken and there were 2 points present, also the bow was unstrung Other theories that he was an outlaw, trader, Shaman, or warrior have no solid basis or evidence. The question of Otzi’s identity has yet to be resolved

43 Not the Primitive Cave Man
We do know that Otzi and his people were not as primitive as we first thought. Well equipped for the cold climate, weapons were strong, carried a “first aid kit” of fungi and mosses known to have medicinal uses

44 Clothing

45 What we do know about Otzi
He was unwell at the time of death Fingernail growth patterns show he was very ill in the last 6 months of his life He had been infested with intestinal worms and parasites that caused dysentery But these were not the causes of his death

46 How did Otzi die? There are several theories:
Early theory was he suffered from hypothermia and disease, however there is no medical evidence 2001-examiners announced the discovery of a flint arrowhead that had gone unnoticed in initial examinations Examiners probed the wound above Otzi’s left shoulder to find the point, and presumed this injury was the cause of death

47 Cold Case of Murder Doctors theorize Otzi had been struck from behind with the arrow The arrow shaft was missing-it probably was pulled out by Otzi after he was hit, leaving the point embedded in his shoulder The point hit a vein, causing a slow death

48 Arrow Entry

49 Murder Investigation The injury no doubt played a major part in Otzi’s death Otzi was definitely murdered- due to the angle of the point embedded in him, he could not have fallen on it, or was it self-inflicted Evidence that Otzi was involved in a struggle before he died: gashes on his hands and body match that of a blade he was carrying, as well as bruises on his body as if he had been beaten Why was he murdered? No one knows.

50 Where is Otzi now? He has been on display in various institutions including the South Tyrol Archaeology Museum in Bozen-Bolzano, Italy. He is preserved under conditions that mimic the glacier in which he was found A “sandwich system” of sterile surgical cloth, crushed ice, and 2 plastic foils with ice packs. Temperature of -6 degrees c and 99% humidity

51 Custody battle between two countries
Who does Otzi belong to? Austria vs. Italy He was first examined in 1991 in Innsbruck, Austria but he was found on the Italian side of the Alps Italy has the rights to claim him, build a museum to feature him, and receive all financial rewards from merchandise, etc.

52 An Interesting Twist Was Otzi and early Austrian or Early Italian?
Using the mineral composition of his dental enamel and leg bone, the environment in which his food was grown can be reconstructed. By comparing the isotopes of Austria and Italy with his mineral composition it was concluded that Otzi came from the South Tyrol area of Italy

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