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To fish or not to fish? Evidence for the possible avoidance of fish consumption during the Iron Age around the North Sea
Dobney, K.; Ervynck, A. (2007). To fish or not to fish? Evidence for the possible avoidance of fish consumption during the Iron Age around the North Sea, in: Haselgrove, C. et al. (Ed.) The Later Iron Age in Britain and beyond. pp. 403-418
In: Haselgrove, C.; Moore, T. (Ed.) (2007). The Later Iron Age in Britain and beyond. Oxbow Books: Oxford. ISBN 978-1-84217-252-0. , more

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Keywords
    Fish consumption; Historical account; ANE, North Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Dobney, K.
  • Ervynck, A., more

Abstract
    Accounts of the Late Iron Age economy of the areas around the southern part of the North Sea typically do not refer to fishing as an important contribution to subsistence (e.g. Bloemers and Van Dorp 1991; Green 1992; Van Heeringen 1992; Cunliffe 1995; Champion and Collis 1996). In the case of freshwater fishing, most texts seem to assume implicitly (by referring to older periods and common sense) that some food procurement did occur in inland waters, but how important this activity was remains unclear. The evaluation of marine resource exploitation is even more problematic for the Late Iron Age. We do not really know to what extent people were fishing in the sea, and, when they did, whether this fishing was practised in the estuaries, along the coast, or in open waters. In any case, the evidence is very scarce, but whether this is proof for a lack of interest in marine and freshwater resources needs to be more fully evaluated. If some Late Iron Age peoples in north-west Europe did not incorporate aquatic resources as a significant part of their subsistence strategies, it remains unclear why this would have been the case. Was this because of ecological conditions, different economic options, a lack of economic specialisation, a lack of technology, or other reasons? The following paper reviews the Iron Age zooarchaeological record for three countries bordering the North Sea (England, Belgium, and the Netherlands) in order to evaluate more fully the possible nature and extent of fish exploitation.

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