Settlements and Seafaring: Reflections on the Integration of Boats and Settlements Among Marine Foragers in Early Mesolithic Norway and the Yámana of Tierra del Fuego
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Island & Coastal Archaeology. 2016, . 10.1080/15564894.2016.1190425
The abundant Early Mesolithic (11,500–10,000 cal. BP) settlements at the raised shorelines in Norway and Sweden represent the earliest documented marine foragers in northern Europe. In the Scandinavian seascapes, both traveling and subsistence depended on seaworthy vessels. However, this highly mobile lifestyle was likewise dependent on settlements on firm ground. Departing from actor-network theory and symmetrical archaeology, I explore the structural relations between extensive use of boats, basic co-residing units, and activity patterns at settlements. The empiric basis for my study is the excavated Early Mesolithic coastal sites in the Ormen Lange project in Central Norway, dated to ca. 11,000–10,800 cal. BP. I suggest that the structural uniformity that is observed in the settlements may be related to the dependency on boats for subsistence activities as well as transport and settlements,creating human-thing dynamics that interlocked co-residents and boat crews, logistics, and activity patterns. This dynamic regime is also explored with ethnohistorical and archaeological references to the Yamana in the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.