Structured Worlds: The Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherer Thought and Action

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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.