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Storied landscapes in the Palaeolithic? The view from the cave

Barker, G and Hunt, CO Storied landscapes in the Palaeolithic? The view from the cave. In: Nimura, C, O'Sullivan, R, Cooper, A and Bradley, R, (eds.) Sentient Archaeologies: Global perspectives on Places, Objects and Practice. Oxbow, Oxford. (Accepted)

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Abstract

It has long been accepted that European Palaeolithic societies of the last interglacial/glacial cycle were likely linked in social networks that connected individuals and groups in information flows to spread risk and provide access to resources and mates. Building on this, Michelle Langley (2013) argued that European Neanderthals inhabited ‘social landscapes’ of this kind but Modern Humans imbued their physical environments with symbolic meaning to create ‘storied landscapes’. In this paper we consider these arguments in terms of the archaeological records of three caves we have investigated, all outside Europe: the Niah Cave in Borneo used by Modern Humans since c.50,000 years ago, the Haua Fteah in Libya used by Modern Humans from c.140,000 years ago, and Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan used by Neanderthals until c.45,000 years ago and then by Modern Humans. Reviewing the evidence in terms of Langley’s principal criteria of landscape marking, personal identities, raw material transport, and norms and customs tied to the landscape, we conclude that the evidence, whilst often ambiguous, serves to widen the debate about Palaeolithic social networks and ‘storied landscapes’. At least for the Palaeolithic people using these three caves there were different ways of being human and different ways of envisaging the landscape beyond that do not map onto the Archaic/Modern dichotomy that is such a cornerstone of evolutionary studies based on the European archaeological record.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Oxbow
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2022 11:31
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2022 11:31
Editors: Nimura, C, O'Sullivan, R, Cooper, A and Bradley, R
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17275

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