The Diversity of Hunter Gatherer Pasts [Paperback]

Bill Finlayson (Editor); Graeme Warren (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781785705885 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2017 | Language: English 204p, b/w

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The Diversity of Hunter Gatherer Pasts


This thought provoking collection of new research papers explores the extent of variation amongst hunting and gathering peoples past and present and the considerable analytical challenges presented by this diversity. This problem is especially important in archaeology, where increasing empirical evidence illustrates ways of life that are not easily encompassed within the range of variation recognised in the contemporary world of surviving hunter-gatherers. Put simply, how do past hunter-gatherers fit into our understandings of hunter-gatherers? Furthermore, given the inevitable archaeological reliance on analogy, it is important to ask whether conceptions of hunter-gatherers based on contemporary societies restrict our comprehension of past diversity and of how this changes over the long term. Discussion of hunter-gatherers shows them to be varied and flexible, but modelling of contemporary hunter-gatherers has not only reduced them into essential categories, but has also portrayed them as static and without history. It is often said that the study of hunter-gatherers can provide insight into past forms of social organisation and behaviour; unfortunately too often it has limited our understandings of these societies. In contrast, contributors here explore past hunter-gather diversity over time and space to provide critical perspectives on general models of ‘hunter-gatherers’ and attempt to provide new perspectives on hunter-gatherer societies from the greater diversity present in the past.

Table of Contents

1 The diversity of hunter-gatherer pasts: an introduction
Bill Finlayson and Graeme Warren
2 Expanding notions of hunter-gatherer diversity: identifying core organisational principles and practices in Coast Salish societies of the northwest Coast of North America
Colin Grier
3 Conceptualising subsistence in central Africa and the West over the longue durée
Kathryn M. de Luna
4 The end of hunting and gathering
Bill Finlayson
5 Okhotsk and Sushen: history and diversity in Iron Age Maritime hunter-gatherers of northern Japan
Mark J. Hudson
6 Comparative analysis of the development of hunter-fisher-gatherer societies of Tierra Del Fuego and the Northwest Coast of America
Jordi Estévez and Alfredo Prieto
7 Let’s start with our academic past: the abandoned ‘Vienna School’ and our hunter-gatherer pasts
Reinhard Blumauer
8 Experimental ethnoarchaeology: studying hunter-gatherers at the uttermost end of the Earth
Robert Carracedo-Recasens and Albert García-Piquer
9 Strangers in a strange land? Intimate sociality and emergent creativity in Middle Palaeolithic Europe
Penny Spikins, Gail Hitchens and Andy Needham
10 Making the familiar past: northwest European hunter-gatherers, analogies and comparisons
Graeme Warren
11 Hunter-gatherers in sub-tropical Asia: valid and invalid comparisons
Jana Fortier and Paul S. Goldstein
12 Archaeological dimensions of past and present hunter-fisher-gatherer diversity
Paul J. Lane

Reviews & Quotes

"The book provides the reader with a global view of hunter-gatherers, and is an important contribution to our understanding of how prehistoric hunter gatherer societies may have functioned."
George Nash
Current World Archaeology (29/01/2018)

"It was with some trepidation, therefore, that I agreed to review this volume… I need not have worried. The volume is entirely in the capable hands of archaeologists."
Clive Gamble
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (13/03/2018)

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