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Responsible for the view that the people of the Neolithic were agriculturalists that immigrated from elsewhere


Part of the post processual school of archaeology that has developed the opinion it was an idealogical shift


It was a period of a "new way of thinking" manifested in material culture such as pottery and burial rites

Rowley - Conwy

Idealogical approaches make a number of assumptions, slow process, still mainly hunter-gatherers, constant

Rowley Conwy

Processualists try to separate the economic change and the idealogical change

Case and Legge

You need a substancial organised agricultural population in order to build monuments

Rowley Conwy

In northwest of europe if subsistence was intensifying the population density might have allowed for monuments

Rowley Conwy

Relies on the population being artificially low before the transition to the Neolithic period is made

Rowley Conwy

Intensification varied, higher population in coastal regions which were easier to exploit for food sources


Hunter gatherer societies develop and then crash as they are dependant on availability and conditions, whereas agriculture guards against this


Hunter - gatherers had lesser fertility rates due to their nomandic existence


Plays down the economic importance of husbandry as just a symbolic part of feasting and ritual exchange

Rowley Conwy

Tended to interpret evidence as showing wheat cultivation of little importance in the Mesolithic, diet mainly contained wild apple/pear, weeds and nuts

Rowley Conwy

Hazelnuts more visible in size to excavators so more likely to take a sample, cereals are intended to be eaten so leave no trace, weeds are discarded in the process of preparing the crop and thrown on fire so preserved

Rowley Conwy

Thinks was mainly a cereal economy, only represented in its waste products


Thought there was a rapid shift from a mainly marine to mainly meat based diet - using the example of Ravgrav in Sweden


An inland population could only support itself through agriculture, which they were forced to develop due to the rise in sea level? In Denmark and Sweden can now see these transition sites above water


Mesolithic society was a pale reduction of what existed in the bounteous Ice Age, a cultural devolution period waiting for the Neolithic


Appearance of small specialized flint implements interpreted as tools to exploit aquatic resources


In the 1980's now deemed as an "essential prelude" to advances in the development of culture in the Neolithic


Period between 10,000 B.C.E and 8,000 - 5,500 B.C.E


Shouldn't try to develop a "Mesolithic Package" of what characterised the era, was simply the time before agriculture fully emerged


More than just an economic but a social advancement as well, neither approach does justice to the development


Due to Childe's orginal understanding of the era there has been a lack of interest in its research untill the last 20 years


Defined the technocomplex: the highest level of group cultures share the same general features, but different types of the same families of artifact, diffused and interlinking


Material culture is responce to common environmental, economical and technological factors


Retouched tools show deliberate signs of modification, into geometric shapes, transverse arrow heads, developing bow and arrow technology


Tools more efficient, had a narrower tip and a broader cutting edge


Believes was practices and equipment of a specific social group, loose the rich different presentations over Europe

Rowley Conwy and Zvelebil

Merely having access to domesticated resources does not mean you are dependant on them or a crisis in wild resources


Unsatisfactory as still implies necessary link between subsistence practices and other parts of culture, the transition is not limited to the existence of certain artefacts

Ammerman and Cavalli- Sforza

Early farming and the Neolithic are synomymous, used radio carbon determinations from only one region and inferred in others that cereals must have been used

Ammerman and Cavilli - Sforza

"Wave of advance" model, fuelled by population rise and gradual continuous expansion due to the reliability of agricultural subsistence


Importance of "frontier zones" between Mesolithic and Neolithic societies, developed where the spread of the Neolithic temporarily halted, demonstrated in a number of sites with pottery, stone points and domesticated bones far away from the loess country


Close contact necessay for artefacts to be shared and new skills learnt, through visiting or exchange of marriage partners? clearly aware prior to 400BC so what cause shift?


Hunting and gathering not just for food but part of experience and understanding of the landscape


Landscape embodies vital forces, patterns that link humans, animals, the supernatural and places
- landscape provides, animals are like a type of person who gives up flesh and energy for respect

Case Study

Star Carr - was revisited time and again, normally more short lived but a place where transformations could occur
- bones into artefacts to extend human agency e.g. antler frontlets whittled down to look like a young deer
- also ritual deposition of these items


Mesolithic landscapes human,animal,nature,spiritual and material connected
- Neolithic was introduction of husbandry into landscape that maintained most of its Mesolithic character, now negotiating relationships between the living and dead


Neolithic monuments were places for transforming the dead, circulated socially and not confined
e.g. Holm in Dumfries burnt down and re-built 8 times


Indicates elaboration of places where materials could be transformed into artefacts to enhance the human body, very often same placees as in Mesolithic

Case Study: Ascott-under-Wychwood

Was built on top of scatters of Mesolithic artefacts, cairn with a separate back chamber where remains were found and a forecourt where ritual activity could take place
- the at some point this was then blocked off so as the supernatural became increasingly separated from everyday life, after the first 5 centuries of the Neolithic


Destinctive break came by distancing the dead, anything supernatural became restricted to certain places


Used the same patterns of movement in the earlier Neolithic


Seems to be a switch from marine to other meats, shellfish associated with the Mesolithic so may be part of taking on a new Neolithic identity
- shellfish still there must have been deliberately avoided


Suggests idea that small group of colonists bought Neolithic ideas over by boat, this and the idea of invasion to not properly explain the disappearance of Mesolithic culture
- assumes Mesolithic people were not familiar with any aspect of Neolithic culture e.g. pottery
- relies on idea Britain culturally isolated after the disappearance of the land bridge in the mid Mesolithic


Combats criticisms, did expand and then stop, but this was a time of cultural hybiridation
- ethnographical studies show easy movement between groups and to adopt a new material culture


Hard to explain how mesolithic disappeared so fast, beginning of the Neolithic must have been period of vast expansion


Invasion required high level of social organisation, small independant migrations would not have caused such dramatic change
- indigenous population must have had a role, Neolithic must have been easy to adopt

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