Mesolithic Europe – BAILEY; SPIKINS (DP)

BAILEY, Geoff; SPIKINS, Penny (Eds.). Mesolithic Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 27p. Resenha de: BUDJA, Mihael; PETRU, Simona. Documenta Praehistorica, n.36, 2009.

The book is a collection of interpretative essays, local and regional, on the Mesolithic in Europe. The chapters are organised in broadly geographical order and focus on the definition of the Mesolithic, chronology, technology and subsistence, arts and rituals, settlements and social organisations.

The opening chapter is an introduction to a different perception of the Mesolithic, and suggests we shift from narratives of passive Mesolithic societies to a new generation of interpretations. The final chapter, follows a discussion of Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, dominates many contributions. This chapter actualises the ‘Neolithic’ interpretative model of ‘demic diffusion’, suggesting that there is no evidence of interaction between the Mesolithic and Neolithic populations of the Balkans and the Mediterranean.

However, the book suggests that elsewhere different elements of the ‘Neolithic package’ were introduced and adopted selectively and separately. Unfortunately, the book overlooks relevant information such the recent discussions of the origins and diffusions of ‘Mesolithic’ and ‘Neolithic’ Y-chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, and human population trajectories in the context of processes in the Mesolithic-Neolithic transformation. It does not reflect the discussion on the 8600–8000 and 6000– 5200 calBP climate anomalies, which undoubted correlate chronologically with the Mesolithic and the Neolithic and drastically affected global environmental conditions.

‘Mesolithic Europe’ offers an interesting regional synthesis of the Mesolithic in different parts of Europe and is a perfect complement to Barker’s volume ‘The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory. Why did Foragers become Farmers?’

Mihael Budja and Simona Petru

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