chapter  10
15 Pages

The First European Farmers

Mesolithic Prelude In Chapter 7, we described the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of central and western Europe, the indigenous peoples of those densely forested regions concentrated by seashores, lakes, and rivers and in forest clearings (Table 10.1). Europe’s Mesolithic lasted for about 4,000 years, from about 8000 b.c. until the introduction of farming in northwestern Europe, about 4000 b.c. This temperate and boreal forest adaptation displayed considerable location variation. Except in areas of abundant aquatic resources and predictable food supplies, population densities were very low. In some areas, however, such as the Danube’s Iron Gates region and the Baltic shores of Scandinavia, population densities were unusually high, and there are some signs of social ranking and great complexity in some late Mesolithic groups (Bailey and Spikins, 2008).