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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

What do we mean by ‘Neolithic societies’? The evidence for the period is increasingly rich, but also complex and heterogeneous, and any attempt to generalize seems risky. In particular, while the Neolithic has often been equated with a particular economic strategy, the indications of subsistence activity are diverse and unstable. In this chapter it is proposed that the process of Neolithization generally involved the emergence of a new form of sociality, in which various kinds of ‘non-humans’ became integral to the fabric of human communities, which at the same time became bounded holders of collective wealth. The routinization and stabilization of social practices that were promoted by these developments facilitated the use of domesticated plants and animals, without determining the extent or character of that use. In this chapter, the implications of this argument are explored in relation to architecture, mortuary practice, and the exchange of material things.

Keywords: Neolithization, social relations, subsistence practice, population movement, human-nonhuman relationships, ancestry

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