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Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe$
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Alasdair Whittle and Vicki Cummings

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264140

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264140.001.0001

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Beyond ‘migration’ versus ‘acculturation’: new models for the spread of agriculture

Beyond ‘migration’ versus ‘acculturation’: new models for the spread of agriculture

Chapter:
(p.99) Beyond ‘migration’ versus ‘acculturation’: new models for the spread of agriculture
Source:
Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe
Author(s):

John Robb

Preston Miracle

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264140.003.0006

The beginning of farming should be one of the most exciting issues in European prehistory. Instead, it runs repetitively in well-worn ruts. This chapter aims to open up a theoretical can of worms, working in similar directions to some recent essays in a non-dichotomized, nonessentializing archaeology of Europe in this period. These take two distinct but related directions. One is to re-evaluate standard interpretive tropes in classic cases such as the LBK, and to argue for much more complex processes at the forager–farmer encounter. A more radical approach is represented by theorists who question the idea that one can define essentialist identities based upon economies. The chapter first discusses the basic terms of argument critically, then poses several new models, and concludes by discussing the resolvability of the question. Beyond the Socratic aim of annoying all parties to the debate equally, it hopes to open a theoretical space in which Europe between 7000 and 4000 cal bc can be freed of encumbering conceptual baggage and viewed as a real ethnographic landscape.

Keywords:   Neolithic transition, archaeology, European prehistory, farming, LBK

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