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Methodological conclusions

Neolithization process

The Neolithization model for the South-east of the Netherlands

7 Conclusions and Neolithization model

A number of objections can be raised against a site-typological analysis of surface finds in a regional archaeological investigation. Despite the limited representativeness and quality, we were able to argue the case for using the nature of the site as one of the correlates for the (food)economy in the Meuse Valley Project. This can be done, provided the analysis is made with data whose measurement level has been adjusted to the quality of the data. The data when reduced to ordinal classes still contain sufficient information for a graphical site-typological analysis.

Clear differences in the settlement systems of the late Mesolithic, the Michelsberg phase and the Beaker period have been demonstrated. In the Mesolithic there is a high mobility: the base camps are repeatedly relocated over short distances. In the Michelsberg phase the mobility seems to have decreased: from a number of base settlements the entire surrounding countryside is exploited through special activity sites. In the Beaker period habitation is concentrated in a small area, without distant relocations of the settlements.

With the arrival of the Bandkeramic in the loess lands around 5400 BC there appears to be little change as yet in the coversand area of the core region of Venray. The Mesolithic traditions and habits continue for almost a thousand years. In the Michelsberg phase there is a society that may be called Neolithic materially, but which still relies strongly on fishing, hunting and gathering economically. Agrarian products are part of the diet, in an economy characterised as 'very' broad spectrum (Louwe Kooijmans 1993a; 1993b). The addition of agriculture and animal husbandry may have occurred to broaden the food base (less risk) or for social reasons (higher status). All kinds of processes occurred after this introduction, such as the decline in mobility, changes in settlement structure, group size and group composition and social organization. Factors that all together seem to have led to a choice for ever increasing food production and intensification. A process that most certainly had not been completed by the end of the Neolithic.

[Intensification model]
Fig. 21 Cause and result are interrelated: a model of increasing intensification during the Neolithization process


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Last updated: Wed Feb 25 1998