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Special Issue of Quaternary International “Holocene Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology of Northern Eurasia”!

November 17, 2016

Congratulations to guest editors Drs. Peter Jordan and Andrzej Weber on the recent publication of their Special Issue of Quaternary International entitled "Holocene Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology of Northern Eurasia".

Congratulations also to the authors, most of whom are part of our BHAP team of researchers and graduate students!

Holocene Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology of Northern Eurasia edited by Peter Jordan and Andrzej Weber. In Quaternary International, Volume 419, Pages 1-194 (17 October 2016).

The entire volume is available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2016.09.046

Excerpt from editorial "Persistent foragers: New insights into Holocene hunter-gatherer archaeology in northern Eurasia":

1. Introduction: aims, objectives and research context

Holocene archaeological sequences across much of northern Eurasia record hunter-gatherer societies undergoing long-term transition. Many of these communities took considerable time to develop full reliance on agro-pastoral farming, and several maintained mixed forager-farmer economies for long periods. Others living along major waterways, lakes and in coastal areas found ways to innovate within the older foraging mode of subsistence, particularly through an increasingly specialised exploitation of aquatic resources. Some of these coastal foragers eventually went on to develop resilient modes of interaction and exchange that enabled them to persist in some areas right through to historic times.

In recent years, much more detailed understandings of what drives variability and change in these long-term archaeological trajectories have been emerging, thanks both to increasing international collaborations and the sharing of information across linguistic boundaries, but particularly through the application of new scientific methods and approaches, which have refined chronologies, and generated higher-resolution insights into diet, mobility, interaction and long-term culture change. In turn, this expanding body of information stimulates productive critique of established models and opens exciting new lines of enquiry.

Many papers in this special issue were presented at a session entitled ‘Comparative Perspectives on Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology of Northeast Eurasia', which was held at the 19th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), Pilsen, Czech Republic, 3-8 September 2013. In line with the founding aims of the EAA, which were to enable archaeologists from diverse international backgrounds to communicate and exchange archaeological information, the goals of the session were threefold:

1. To explore evidence for the exchange of skills, practices and technologies among prehistoric hunter-gatherers living across northern Eurasia; this is important because older political divides - and especially enduring linguistic boundaries - continue to block fuller integration of archaeological evidence between regions and across national boundaries;
2. To undertake structured comparative analyses between hunter-gatherer sites, landscapes and archaeological sequences in eastern and western Eurasia, in order to explore alternative interpretations, and critique implicit assumptions about particular sequences of innovation and culture change;
3. More generally, to trace how new theory and scientific methods are dramatically improving insights into the lifeways and behavioural strategies of the hunter-gatherers living across Holocene Eurasia.

A few papers were added after the EAA session, and the outcome is a diverse yet mutually-complimentary set of case-studies, which engage with all three goals, and provide truly Eurasian coverage (Fig. 1). Together, the special issue is a timely overview of the range of innovative research underway across this region, much of which is being generated by long-running international collaborations. Although fresh ideas, new approaches and emerging insights are presented, all papers highlight that much important work still remains to be done, a clear signal that this is a dynamic and rapidly-evolving research field.

Download entire editorial here.

Congratulations to all the authors!

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