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Something rotten in Scandinavia : The world's earliest evidence of fermentation

Boethius, Adam LU (2016) In Journal of Archaeological Science 66. p.169-180
Abstract

Large-scale food storage has been identified at an Early Mesolithic settlement on the east coast of Sweden, implying a delayed-return subsistence strategy. The excavation and analysis of the contents of a 9200-year-old construction, combined with ethnographic analogies and modern knowledge of microbial activity, suggest that fish was fermented at the site. The identification of a foraging economy fermenting substantial amounts of fish, and conserving it for later use, thousands of years prior to farming and urbanized communities and without the use of salt, has implications for how we perceive the Early Mesolithic, suggesting semi-sedentism, technological skill and the ability to adapt rapidly to changing environmental conditions.... (More)

Large-scale food storage has been identified at an Early Mesolithic settlement on the east coast of Sweden, implying a delayed-return subsistence strategy. The excavation and analysis of the contents of a 9200-year-old construction, combined with ethnographic analogies and modern knowledge of microbial activity, suggest that fish was fermented at the site. The identification of a foraging economy fermenting substantial amounts of fish, and conserving it for later use, thousands of years prior to farming and urbanized communities and without the use of salt, has implications for how we perceive the Early Mesolithic, suggesting semi-sedentism, technological skill and the ability to adapt rapidly to changing environmental conditions. Evidence of a delayed-return practice in Early Mesolithic foraging contexts raises questions regarding the current models used to estimate demographic parameters, such as population density and birth rate, for that time period, as well as indicating the existence of a more complex society than previously realized.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Delayed-return, Fermentation, Fish, Foraging, Mesolithic, Sedentism, Storage
in
Journal of Archaeological Science
volume
66
pages
12 pages
publisher
Academic Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:84957541058
  • wos:000372683000017
ISSN
0305-4403
DOI
10.1016/j.jas.2016.01.008
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
39216c22-c586-470c-b7b9-dd42327e79eb
date added to LUP
2016-07-08 12:02:49
date last changed
2017-04-09 04:47:33
@article{39216c22-c586-470c-b7b9-dd42327e79eb,
  abstract     = {<p>Large-scale food storage has been identified at an Early Mesolithic settlement on the east coast of Sweden, implying a delayed-return subsistence strategy. The excavation and analysis of the contents of a 9200-year-old construction, combined with ethnographic analogies and modern knowledge of microbial activity, suggest that fish was fermented at the site. The identification of a foraging economy fermenting substantial amounts of fish, and conserving it for later use, thousands of years prior to farming and urbanized communities and without the use of salt, has implications for how we perceive the Early Mesolithic, suggesting semi-sedentism, technological skill and the ability to adapt rapidly to changing environmental conditions. Evidence of a delayed-return practice in Early Mesolithic foraging contexts raises questions regarding the current models used to estimate demographic parameters, such as population density and birth rate, for that time period, as well as indicating the existence of a more complex society than previously realized.</p>},
  author       = {Boethius, Adam},
  issn         = {0305-4403},
  keyword      = {Delayed-return,Fermentation,Fish,Foraging,Mesolithic,Sedentism,Storage},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {02},
  pages        = {169--180},
  publisher    = {Academic Press},
  series       = {Journal of Archaeological Science},
  title        = {Something rotten in Scandinavia : The world's earliest evidence of fermentation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2016.01.008},
  volume       = {66},
  year         = {2016},
}