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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses people's interactions with wetlands in prehistoric Europe. In the Mesolithic, for instance, people lived close to and exploited wetlands mainly for food procurement (i.e., hunting-fishing-gathering), but they preferred to settle in drier environments. In the Neolithic, the relationship with the wetlands became more intimate and permanent. Not only did social groups choose to inhabit and exploit the wetlands economically, living on lakeshores all year round (as in the Neolithic Circum–Alpine lake villages), but they started regarding them as sacred places as well, where ritual and offerings could be performed periodically. With the advent of agriculture, and later on the spread of metals (copper, bronze, and iron), people's interactions with the wetlands became more complex. In continental Europe, fortified settlements appear also within wetland environments, denoting a widespread socioeconomic change.

Keywords: Mesolithic, Neolithic, sacred places, rituals, offering, hunting, gathering, agriculture, settlements

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