Heading north: landscape use and food technology at the initial stage of farming expansion in the Balkans

Author(s): Elena Marinova; Maria Ivanova-Bieg

Year: 2015


During the spread of farming from the Near East to Europe, farmers and their domestic plants and animals gradually penetrated into new environments. Reaching the northern periphery of the Balkans (present day Serbia, northern Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary), early farmers encountered for the first time an ecological zone that significantly differed from the natural habitats of their domesticates. The continental environmental conditions, i.e. frosty winters with snow cover, stronger expressed seasonality, diverging precipitation regimes, etc., must have put considerable pressure on their traditional farming system, calling for biological adaptations in the plant and animal populations. Instead of biological adjustments, however, a rapid cultural adaptation ensued. In comparison to the areas of origin in Anatolia and the southern Balkans, diversity of crops was radically reduced, the composition of herds changed and the use of wild resources became increasingly important in the northern Balkan peninsula. The modifications in the food economy were accompanied by a transformation in the traditional ways of storing, processing and consuming food. In this paper, we explore the emergence of distinct strategies of landscape management, food acquisition and food processing with the initial adaptation of farming to European continental conditions.

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Cite this Record

Heading north: landscape use and food technology at the initial stage of farming expansion in the Balkans. Maria Ivanova-Bieg, Elena Marinova. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395083)


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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;