8. Conclusions

This article has attempted to suggest possible influences and associations between the impact of lithic technology and the mobility strategies of the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in northern England. This article has described how persistent places may have often been resource locales in the landscape, and that this had significant consequences and influences on raw material consumption and tool manufacture. Key to this study is the introduction (into the chaîne opératoire model of lithics analyses) of the notion of 'Equipotentiality'.

Figure 7 Figure 8

Figure 7: A chaîne opératoire model for equipotentiality and mobility
Figure 8: The relationship between tools, site location and raw material factors

On the basis of the above discussions, a heuristic model for equipotential tool use at both intra- and inter-site levels, together with its influence on hunter-gatherer mobility strategies, is proposed. On the basis of the lithic evidence, a heuristic model (Fig. 7) for Mesolithic tool use was constructed for Star Carr (Preston 1999), and subsequently modified to accommodate retooling as well as the relationships and concepts outlined in Figure 8 and this article. The model is based on the following hypotheses:

  1. The exploitation of raw materials was influenced by the distance from their source, resulting in:
    1. Local materials accounting for a high proportion of the assemblage
    2. Distant materials representing a smaller proportion of the assemblage, proportional to the distance from their source
    3. Economising strategies were increasingly adopted on materials with:
      1. Greater distance from the source as a response to the relative rareness and larger investment involved in their acquisition
      2. Social factors, territoriality, etc.
  2. As part of an economising strategy some tools were:
    1. Manufactured and used equipotentially
    2. Retooled
    3. Manufactured on cortical blanks and non-conventional blanks (e.g. core rejuvenation tablets and plunging blades were used)
  3. Certain sites were persistent places. Certain of these sites (together with the tools, debitage and raw materials left there) were used as a resource cache that formed a node within the Mesolithic group's annual, seasonal, or daily movements.


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Last updated: Wed Jul 29 2009