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Radiocarbon chronology and the correlation of hunter-gatherer sociocultural change with abrupt palaeoclimate change: the Middle Mesolithic in the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt area of northwest Europe
Robinson, E.; Van Strydonck, M.; Gelorini, V.; Crombé, P. (2013). Radiocarbon chronology and the correlation of hunter-gatherer sociocultural change with abrupt palaeoclimate change: the Middle Mesolithic in the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt area of northwest Europe. J. Archaeol. Sci. 40(1): 755-763. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.jas.2012.08.018
In: Journal of Archaeological Science. Elsevier: London. ISSN 0305-4403, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Radiocarbon chronology; Mesolithic; Northwest Europe; Climate-culture change

Authors  Top 
  • Robinson, E., more
  • Van Strydonck, M.
  • Gelorini, V., more
  • Crombé, P., more

Abstract
    Recent refinements in radiocarbon sampling procedures have enabled a more robust absolute chronology for the Mesolithic in the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt area of northwest Europe. These refinements have allowed for a new chronological sub-division of the Early and Middle Mesolithic periods. Results of this research have indicated that the Middle Mesolithic period was bound by two Early Holocene cooling events, one at 9300 cal. BP and the other at 8200 cal. BP. These results enable a critical evaluation of the role of chronological precision in the investigation of contemporaneity between abrupt climate change and hunter–gatherer sociocultural change. In this paper we focus on the variable chronological resolution of the Early to Middle and Middle to Late Mesolithic transitions in the RMS area, and the role of this variable resolution in our ability to investigate the contemporaneity of these two transitions with different Early Holocene abrupt cooling events. This paper highlights two central challenges facing archaeological investigations of the relationships between climate and culture change: first, the requirement of tight chronological overlap between climate and culture change events and consideration of leads and lags in ecosystem and subsequent human responses to climate change; second, the equifinality problem and the separation of the impact of gradual from punctuated environmental change on human societies.

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