Seasonal mobility and multispecies interactions in the Mesolithic northeastern Adriatic

Authored by: Suzanne E. Pilaar Birch

Multispecies Archaeology

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138898981
eBook ISBN: 9781315707709
Adobe ISBN:


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The traditional archaeological narrative surrounding the early Holocene in the Balkans tends to focus on changes in human cultural material, technology, and subsistence from the Mesolithic into the Neolithic. Demographic continuity—or lack thereof—has been a central debate, but recent models in the eastern Adriatic have increasingly recognized the spatially and temporally nuanced nature of this shift (e.g., Bass 2008; Forenbaher et al. 2013; Forenbaher & Miracle 2005; Orton et al. 2016; Robb & Miracle 2007; Pilaar Birch & Vander Linden 2017). Human lifeways were embedded in local ecologies, which in turn were structured not least by the climatic and environmental conditions that governed the presence and seasonal abundance of myriad plant and animal species. Local environments were affected by changes in seasonal temperature ranges, vegetation, and freshwater availability during this time. In the Adriatic, the sea level increased rapidly following the end of the last ice age, with a short hiatus at the very end of the Pleistocene corresponding with the Younger Dryas (12,900–11,700 bp) (Lambeck et al. 2002, 2004; Suri? et al. 2005). It then steadily increased from the initial Holocene until current sea levels were reached between 8,000 and 6,000 years ago, causing the formation of the northern third of the Adriatic Sea and the inundation of the Great Adriatic Plain (Lambeck et al. 2004; Suri? 2005; Colantoni et al. 1979). In response to these dramatic transformations at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, the seasonal mobility and subsistence strategies of red and roe deer, chamois, ibex, wild boar, and humans would have had to adapt in both the short and long term.

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