Session: #479

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

From Climate Change to Activism: How Can European Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology Contribute towards Broader Contemporary Debates? [PaM]
Hunter-gatherer archaeology in Europe covers a wide temporal frame stretching from the initial arrival of Homo Sapiens sapiens until the transition to farming. It explores deep Stone Age histories based on elaborate analytical tool kits and interpretative frameworks. However, within the broader, interdisciplinary field of hunter-gatherer studies, European hunter-gatherer archaeology is distinct to that of other continents, in that it has remained a „consumer“ of anthropological theory and ethnographic analogies – despite its great potential to contribute original and highly relevant perspectives to contemporary concerns. When integrated with anthropological approaches and broader global concerns such as rising social inequality, decolonization processes, climate change and other socio-environmental hazards, it becomes clear that European hunter-gatherer archaeology has a lot to offer in order to approach current problems through its longue durée perspective and its expertize on alternative life worlds.
This session aims to discuss how European hunter-gatherer archaeology contributes to these wider popular debates and contemporary concerns, and seeks to situate this contribution in relation to that of other continents. We will consider the impact on diverse fields such as postcolonial debates, indigenous archaeologies, empowerment and multivocality, the growing interest in multi-species systems, and sociologies of adaptive potential from vulnerability to resilience.
We welcome contributions which discuss achievements and identify future imperatives across this spectrum, addressing e.g. the following questions: How does hunter-gatherer archaeology contribute to wider anthropological debates? What role does hunter-gatherer archaeology play in promoting alternative social structures to counter-act growing social inequalities? How do our findings inform political activism, e.g. concerning indigenous rights and empowerment, or anarchist movements? On the global scale, what role have archaeologists played in advocating the concerns of contemporary hunter-gatherer communities? In a world where anthropogenic climate change rapidly increases natural hazards, what does hunter-gatherer archaeology contribute to understand vulnerability and strengthen contemporary resilience?
Hunter-gatherer archaeology, Europe, Popular debate, Contemporary concerns, Resilience, Climate Change
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Benjamin Elliott (United Kingdom) 1
Astrid Nyland (Norway) 2
Graeme Warren (Ireland) 3
Henny Piezonka (Germany) 4
1. Newcastle University
2. Universitetet i Stavanger
3. University College Dublin
4. Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel