Before Farming

E-scapes and E-motion

other ways of writing the Mesolithic

Before Farming (2004), 2004, (1), 1–9.

Abstract

This paper aims to review and address some recent trends in writing about the Mesolithic and consider fruitful approaches for understanding the gatherer-hunter-fisher experience of ‘scapes’ (landscape, seascape, taskscape). Attention is focused on the narratives that result from our encounters with the archaeological record and a series of examples, drawn from Scotland and the rest of Britain, are presented that reflect on the treatment of various categories of archaeological evidence. Of central concern is how some recent trends in understanding mobility, identity and experience in anthropology inform Mesolithic archaeology. The focus of attention also lies with the conceptual spaces that we as archaeologists create to understand past environments and the places and routines of gatherer-hunter lifeways. A dominant theme is that of materiality and how material culture can be used to evince a deeper understanding of place and scape. Achieving this necessitates re-animating the material we work with and revisiting many of the traditional and often entrenched perspectives that we bring to site and artefact interpretation.

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Finlay, Nyree