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Title: Mesolithic coastal community perception of environmental change in the southern North Sea basin
Author: Dewing, Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis applies a multi-scalar, multi-disciplinary approach to evaluate the ways in which we have constructed the Mesolithic for the purposes of archaeological research. The human-environment relationship in the southern North Sea basin is used as the lens through which this period is reexamined and redefined. Exploring the nature of this complex interaction on the macro, meso and micro-scale provides greater insight into what it meant to dwell within this landscape during the Mesolithic period. In discussing scales of approach, the means by which research is divided over space and time become a decisive element. The use of political borders to orientate prehistoric archaeology is critically examined and a diffuse structure based on environmental parameters key to the Mesolithic experience of the southern North Sea landscape is offered as a better alternative. Due to the time-transgressive nature of Mesolithic chronology in the North Sea basin, temporal divisions framing the research period, nominally 11,700BP to 7,000BP, are equally permeable; the larger chronological context from the end of the Last Glacial Maximum to the early Neolithic is incorporated into interpretations. To build a multi-scalar interpretation, data from the southern North Sea Mesolithic is analysed at the macro, meso and micro scales. At the micro-scale, a case study in the Waveney valley is used to ground the ideas set forth in this thesis in the complex reality of combining archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data to form interpretations. A database of 2000 boreholes is used to form an understanding of the Mesolithic environment at key stages in the development of this landscape. This is compared with the archaeological record for the region and the possible human perceptions of environmental change during the Mesolithic period are discussed. At each scale, the persistent importance of dynamic change across each axis of evidence considered; environmental, cultural and conceptual; is apparent. This idea of dynamism is, therefore, suggested as the best categorisation of what the Mesolithic experience the southern North Sea landscape; one which provides a more sympathetic and useful conceptualization of the Mesolithic period. It is, therefore, argued that the application of a multi-scalar, multi-disciplinary approach, reflecting this new definition, is substantiated as the most constructive means of carrying out future interpretation.
Supervisor: Dix, Justin ; Sturt, Fraser ; Davies, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology