Late Mesolithic Foodways in Arctic and Subarctic Zones: An Ethnoarchaeological Approach

Author(s): Megan Binkley

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2021: General Sessions" session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Through collaboration with modern populations practicing traditional hunting and foraging approaches in Norwegian coastal landscapes of archaeological significance, I present an ethnoarchaeological analogy for Arctic and subarctic Late Mesolithic coastal exploitation. As part of this analogy, I introduce the Accessibility Zones Model, which delineates the greater fjord landscape into subsections on the basis of physical accessibility, topographical slope, and water depth. I use this model to analyze tripartite correlations between landscape features, resource concentrations, and Mesolithic site preferences. My results support the idea of a Mesolithic preference for regions with flatter, shallower landscapes, with a slight emphasis on areas accessible to both adults and children. Analysis of the sustainability practices espoused by coastal foragers in Norway today further suggests that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers may have conserved coastal ecosystems through the production of shell middens. As a fixed and plentiful source of calcium, these middens likely supported the reproductive cycles of local mollusk populations. This, in turn, would have bolstered the recovery of shellfish beds from exploitation and encouraged hunter-gatherers to return to the same locations annually as part of their exploitation circuits. Finally, this research highlights the role of juvenile foragers as active and productive exploiters in their own right.

Cite this Record

Late Mesolithic Foodways in Arctic and Subarctic Zones: An Ethnoarchaeological Approach. Megan Binkley. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 467467)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -26.016; min lat: 53.54 ; max long: 31.816; max lat: 80.817 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 32407