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The wet, the wild and the domesticated : the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition on the West coast of Scotland.

Schulting, R. J. and Richards, M. P. (2002) 'The wet, the wild and the domesticated : the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition on the West coast of Scotland.', European journal of archaeology., 5 (2). pp. 147-189.


Models of the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Britain in recent years have tended to downplay the role of changes in the subsistence economy, emphasizing a very gradual adoption of new domesticated resources. This view has been particularly pervasive for the west coast of Scotland, which in the context of Britain presents a relatively marginal environment for farming. In this article, we challenge this too-quickly emerging orthodoxy through the presentation and discussion of both new and previously published stable isotope data and AMS dates. The palaeodietary information, while limited, strongly suggests a very rapid and complete change in the subsistence economy coincident with the earliest manifestations of the Neolithic on the west coast of Scotland early in the fourth millennium cal. BC. Whatever explanation is invoked to account for the transition needs to engage with the isotopic data. The possibility of colonization at some level needs to be seriously reconsidered.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Marine resources, Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, Palaeodiet, Scotland, Stable isotope analysis.
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Record Created:20 Jul 2009 11:50
Last Modified:17 Aug 2010 16:28

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