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From Hunting to Farming

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Mesolithic Age Hunter-Gatherers of Central Europe
Reconstructed Mesolithic Homestead - Archeon

Reconstructed Mesolithic Homestead - Archeon

Hans Splinter

About 6,000 BC, the inhabitants of Europe were Mesolithic hunter-gatherer-fishers, who lived in huts that looked more or less like the reconstructed building illustrated in the photograph. Archaeologists trace the European Mesolithic between the last glacial maximum (ca 10,000 BP) to the beginning of the Neolithic period (ca. 5,000 BP), after farming communities were established.

Mesolithic hunter-gatherers excelled at marine animal exploitation, building fish weirs for efficiency, and they hunted a wide range of animals, including wild pig. They were also fond of shellfish—many of the European Mesolithic sites contain enormous shell middens, trash heaps left over from decades of shellfish harvesting.

The house illustrated in the photograph is a reconstructed Mesolithic structure from Archeon, a living history/experimental archaeology park in the Netherlands.

Sources and Further Information

Bramanti, B., et al. 2009 Genetic Discontinuity Between Local Hunter-Gatherers and Central Europe’s First Farmers. Science Express 3 September 2009

Haak, Wolfgang, et al. 2005 Ancient DNA from the First European Farmers in 7500-Year-Old Neolithic Sites. Science 310:1016-1018.

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