Proposals/abstracts for 20 minute presentations are invited for the
following TAG session, jointly organized by Hannah Cobb and Steven Price
(University of Manchester).
Please e-mail enquiries/abstracts before September 1st (official deadline)
Hannah Cobb: [log in to unmask]

This session is currently planned as a half-session with another, dealing
with similar themes in the Palaeolithic (‘Hunter-Gatherers in Early
Prehistory’), after which it is hoped there will be a joint discussion
covering both sessions. For more information about this session, please e-
Fiona Coward:  [log in to unmask]
or Lucy Grimshaw:  [log in to unmask]

TAG 2004, Glasgow Friday 17th December – Sunday 19th December:

Hunting for Meaning: Interpretive Approaches to the Mesolithic

“Archaeologists have traditionally placed hunter-gatherers at the bottom
of the social evolutionary heap. Some have given the impression that the
most interesting thing about hunter-gatherers is that they finally gave up
and started farming” (Rowley-Conwy 1997, 7).

It is only half a decade since Rowley-Conwy made this statement and yet in
that time the picture has changed considerably and studies of the
Mesolithic are now taking on a much greater interpretive theoretical
stance. As a result the notion of an increasing social and ideological
sophistication in the Neolithic contrasted to the paucity of such
complexity and elaboration in the preceding Mesolithic is rapidly
beginning to be eroded. Where only recently it was thought that the nature
of the material record in the Mesolithic sentenced it to purely functional
and economic approaches, explicitly interpretive approaches have begun to
convincingly demonstrate how material culture played a central role in the
creation of meaningful Mesolithic world views. Although in their infancy,
these interpretive approaches to the Mesolithic have developed their own
clear identity. They have not simply adapted Neolithic approaches to the
study of hunter-gatherers but have sought to explore Mesolithic world
views in their own right. This session hopes to bring together the growing
body of such approaches toward the Mesolithic that explicitly take this
stance. It will explore the new methodologies and theoretical stances that
demonstrate how hunter-gatherer worldviews were actively and meaningfully
created, in order to demonstrate the multitude of new directions that
these offer Mesolithic studies.