Stealing through the back door

Sensory archaeology in the European Mesolithic

Authored by: Ben Elliott

The Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138676299
eBook ISBN: 9781315560175
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315560175-19

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Abstract

A consideration of the senses can be traced through several different strands of research into the European Mesolithic. Whilst the turn of the twenty-first century forms a watershed for approaches to this period, the development of new ways in thinking about the lives of post-glacial hunter-gatherers has taken some time to feed directly into our understanding of sensory experience within this context. Instead, the senses have been taken up peripherally, within wider discussions of space, emotion and the ways in which we visualise the Mesolithic. This chapter explores this historical development, whilst highlighting the handful of studies which have taken sensory experience as their explicit focus, and developed methodologies which factor for the unique character of Mesolithic datasets. Beyond the conventional academic literature, this chapter also examines the contributions that painters, graphic novelists and sound artists have made to our understandings of Mesolithic sensory experience, sketching out potential avenues for the future of non-text-based research outputs in this field.

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