Inquiry into the Ethnic Resolution of Mesolithic Regional Groups
Recent Western European Mesolithic research has greatly augmented our understanding of the time and space parameters of material derived from settlements. Perusals of those regularities have led to a renewed scrutiny of the ethnographic literature in an attempt to perceive the resulting temporal and spatial units as anthropologically relevant regional groups. The proposition that the breeding population was identical to the ethnic identity of the participants is untenable.
After a review of the physical anthropological composition of that population and its forms of social and spatial organization, the emic relevance of decorative ornamentation and costume is established in terms of society-specific styles. Proceeding from a series of tenets of processual ethnographic analogy, the ornaments extant in the post- glacial hunter-fisher-gatherer cultures of Western Europe are examined for their formal properties and time and space parameters. By means of an explicit set of postulates they are tested for the identification, definition and territorial placement of mesolithic social, ethnic and linguistic groups.