4. Conclusion

In sum, the three questions posed at the beginning of this article have all been answered to some extent. The use of all mollusc species found in the deposits allowed information on changing species abundance to be gathered which demonstrates a change in species gathering over time and a change in shoreline exploitation. The age data indicates that cockle exploitation did change through time. The seasonality pattern at Norsminde is clearer than that found at Krabbesholm; when seen in conjunction with the oyster data there is evidence of change in shellfish seasonality at both sites.

The findings of this research suggest that the transition from hunting-gathering to agriculture in Denmark was a complex process, with no general pattern that can be applied to all Danish sites. Regional difference is demonstrated by the differences evidenced at Norsminde and Krabbesholm. The notion that Neolithic people turned away from marine resource exploitation is not upheld by the evidence from either site, both of which clearly demonstrate that shellfish resources were utilised well into the Neolithic.

This research does not provide an answer as to why the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition took place but it does highlight the differences between midden sites and the importance of looking at local scales as well as the bigger picture. Fuller details of this research are available in my unpublished thesis entitled An Investigation of the Common Cockle (Cerastoderma edule (L.)): Collection Practices at the Kitchen Midden Sites of Norsminde and Krabbesholm, Denmark. 2006. University of York.

I must extend my thanks to the cockle collectors without whom I could not have undertaken this project: Sarah Turbutt at The Maldon District Council, Gary Forder at The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Kath Johnston at the City and County Council of Swansea and Eileen Summers in the Orkneys.


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