The Early Mesolithic Landscape
During the course of the Early Mesolithic, overall vegetational diversity increased, leading to a more varied mosaic of plant communities across the landscape. With the increasing deciduous component, seasonal differences in vegetational cover became more pronounced. In this more varied landscape, it is likely that animal distributions and movements of individual animal species became more restricted and predictable, according to the different requirements of each species. Some vegetational patches became more obviously richer than others. Forest density increased, causing greater difficulty in movement and visibility. Canoes were probably present to assist movement, as some sites appear on islands, in the Federsee, for example, but this device may have primarily assisted residential movement and fishing more than hunting. The amount of available graze decreased even more, with the result that horse and, to a much lesser extent, aurochs, declined in abundance. Boar and roe deer would have been particularly favored by these changes and increased in numbers, and red deer would have persisted as an important component of the environment; all three would have been quite widespread in their distribution. Moose may have decreased in abundance and become more restricted in distribution around the lakes of Oberschwaben and the Rhine lowlands.
KeywordsFaunal Assemblage Vegetational Diversity Fossil Shell Small Game Mammalian Prey
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