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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the nature of 'transformations' in Mesolithic societies in north-west Europe. I argue that transformations were an all pervasive aspect of Mesolithic life, although archaeologically we have tended to focus on a small subset of these; often at a comparatively large scale, and still related to old ideas about evolution and progress-perhaps especially in the concept of 'complex hunter-gatherers'. The most commonly cited example of the Mesolithic in north-west Europe, the Ertebolle of southern Scandinavia, is considered in this context, and issues of bias and variability are addressed. The Mesolithic is highly variable as an archaeological phenomenon in this region, and many aspects of that variability reflect genuine differences in the past. We should ensure that our accounts of 'transformations' in this period are respectful of the multiple potential scales at which this variability is manifest.

Keywords: Mesolithic, north-west Europe, Ertebolle, complexity, variability, progress

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