Session: #196

Theme & Session Format

5. Climate Change and Socioenvironmental Perspectives
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

“A Universe with an Additional Dimension”: The Socioenvironmental Archaeology of Fishing [PaM]
Numerous archaeozoological studies, as well as the development of biomolecular approaches (stable isotope analysis, organic residue analysis, etc.) have revealed the important contribution of fish to human diets through space and time. In some cases, for example in a number of Mesolithic contexts, fishing constituted the main part of the subsistence economy. However, unlike other modes of subsistence (hunting, gathering, agriculture), fishing required humans to adapt to a whole different medium. As noted by the American anthropologist Gordon Hewes, due to their specific features, aquatic environments are a strange realm from the point of view of land-dwelling beings – “a universe with an additional dimension”. Apart from affording particular sensory experiences, fishing also entangled humans in a web of relations with a multitude of aquatic creatures. Landscape socialization, human movement within the landscape, the location of camps and settlements, activities, and beliefs were intimately bound to, and influenced by, natural cycles of various fish species – their migrations, spawning locations, appearance and behaviours. Such interspecies engagements were also expressed materially – through the structured deposition of fish remains, the usage of fish teeth and vertebrae to adorn human bodies, and in fish-related iconography (sculpture, rock carvings, paintings). With these considerations in mind, we invite a wide range of contributions concerning socioenvironmental aspects of fishing beyond exploitation and diet. We welcome papers approaching this issue from a variety of perspectives – archaeozoological, historical, anthropological, environmental, phenomenological, multispecies, and relational, regardless of chronological, geographical or cultural context.
Fishing, Aquatic landscapes, Fish symbolism, Human-fish entanglements
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Session associated with CIfA:
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Main organiser:
Ivana Živaljevic (Serbia) 1
Anja Mansrud (Norway) 2
Kenneth Ritchie (Denmark) 3
Harry Robson (United Kingdom) 4
1. BioSense Institute, University of Novi Sad
2. Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger
3. Moesgaard Museum
4. University of York