is our reward

Publications in Danube Gorges by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

August 11, 2022

The Mesolithic in Eastern Europe was the last time that hunter-gatherer economies thrived there before the spread of agriculture in the second half of the seventh millennium BC. But the period, and the interactions between foragers and the first farmers, are poorly understood in the Carpathian Basin and surrounding areas because few sites are known, and even fewer have been excavated and published. How did site location differ between Mesolithic and Early Neolithic settlers? And where should we look for rare Mesolithic sites? Proximity analysis is seldom used for predictive modeling for hunter-gatherer sites at large scales, but in this paper, we argue that it can serve as an important starting point for prospection for rare and poorly understood sites. This study uses proximity analysis to provide quantitative landscape associations of known Mesolithic and Early Neolithic sites in the Carpathian Basin to show how Mesolithic people chose attributes of the landscape for camps, and how they differed from the farmers who later settled. We use elevation and slope, rivers, wetlands prior to the twentieth century, and the distribution of lithic raw materials foragers and farmers used for toolmaking to identify key proxies for preferred locations. We then build predictive models for the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic in the Pannonian region to highlight parts of the landscape that have relatively higher probabilities of having Mesolithic sites still undiscovered and contrast them with the settlement patterns of the first farmers in the area. We find that large parts of Pannonia conform to landforms preferred by Mesolithic foragers, but these areas have not been subject to investigation. © 2022, The Author(s).

Research field(s)
Arts & Humanities, Historical Studies, Archaeology