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Population level models for testing hunter-gatherer resilience and settlement response to the combined impact of abrupt climatic events and sea level change: a case study from the Holocene of northern Britain

Mithen, S. and Wicks, K. (2021) Population level models for testing hunter-gatherer resilience and settlement response to the combined impact of abrupt climatic events and sea level change: a case study from the Holocene of northern Britain. Quaternary Science Reviews, 265. 107027. ISSN 0277-3791

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107027

Abstract/Summary

Isolating the impacts of abrupt climatic events on Holocene hunter-gatherers from those of gradual environmental change is methodologically challenging and conflicts with the lived experience of Mesolithic communities for whom the world was in continuous flux. We explore the combined impacts of abrupt climate events (ACEs) and gradual sea level change on the Mesolithic communities of northern Britain by using a summed calibrated probability distribution (SCPD) of radiocarbon dates as a population proxy, addressing sources of potential bias, including the history of research, differential site destruction, calibration effects and changes in settlement pattern. Our study is placed into a European context by reviewing studies that have reached contrasting conclusions about the impacts of ACEs on Holocene hunter-gatherer communities. We suggest such differences arise from variation in their specific ecological settings, cultural repertoires, and social environments, concluding that Holocene hunter-gatherers in northern Britain were especially vulnerable to environmental change.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
ID Code:99022
Publisher:Elsevier

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