1st Edition

Structured Worlds The Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherer Thought and Action

By Aubrey Cannon Copyright 2012
    ISBN 9780367872250
    288 Pages
    Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge

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    ISBN 9781845530808
    224 Pages
    Published August 8, 2014 by Routledge

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    Hunter-gatherer societies are constrained by their environment and the technologies available to them. However, until now the role of culture in foraging communities has not been widely considered. 'Structured Worlds' examines the role of cosmology, values, and perceptions in the archaeological histories of hunter-fisher-gatherers. The essays examine a range of cultures - Mesolithic Europe, Siberia, Jomon Japan, the Northwest Coast, the northern Plains, and High Arctic of North America - to show the role of conceptual frameworks in subsistence and settlement, technology, mobility, migration, demography, and social organization. Spanning from the early Holocene period to the present day, 'Structured Worlds' draws on archaeology and ethnography to explore the role of beliefs, ritual, and social values in the interaction between foragers and their physical and social landscape. Material culture, animal bones and settlement patterns show that the behaviours of hunter-gatherers were shaped as much by cultural concepts as by material need.

    1 Introduction AUBREY CANNON 2 Material Culture Perspectives on the Worldview of Northern Hunter-Gatherers PETER JORDAN, University of Aberdeen 3 Humans, Material Culture and Landscape: Outline to an Understanding of Developments in Worldviews on the Scandinavian Peninsula, ca. 10,000-4500 BP INGRID FUGLESTVEDT, University of Oslo 4 Cosmology and Everyday Perception in Northwest Coast Production, Reproduction, and Settlement AUBREY CANNON 5 The Structured World of the Niitsitapi: The Landscape as Historical Archive among Hunter-Gatherers of the Northern Plains GERALD A. OETELAAR AND D. JOY OETELAAR, University of Calgary 6 Landscape Learning and Lithic Technology: Seasonal Mobility, Enculturation and Tool Apprenticeship among the Early Palaeo-Eskimos S. BROOKE MILNE, University of Manitoba 7 Making Space in the Late Mesolithic of Britain LESLEY MCFADYEN, University of Leicester 8 Why Does Difference Matter? The Creation of Personhood and the Categorisation of Food among Prehistoric Fisher-Gatherer-Hunters of Northern Europe LILIANA JANIK, University of Cambridge 9 Using Worldwide Samples in Understanding the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in Northern Europe HELENA KNUTSSON, University of Uppsala 10 Figurines, Circular Settlements and Jomon Worldviews NAOKO MATSUMOTO, Okayama University 11 The Involution of Complexity in Jomon Japan SIMON KANER, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures 12 Conclusion AUBREY CANNON


    Aubrey Cannon received his PhD in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge. He is currently Professor of Anthropology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His main research areas include the archaeological histories of hunter-fisher-gatherer cultures of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America and the archaeology of mortuary practices.

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