University of Cambridge > > PalMeso Seminar Series > Fire, Culture, and Society: Excavations at the MIS 11 site of Barnham, Suffolk

Fire, Culture, and Society: Excavations at the MIS 11 site of Barnham, Suffolk

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Abstract: Excavations at Barnham have revealed evidence of occupation by two successive human groups around a spring-fed pond, dating to c. 400 ka. Charcoal, burnt flint and heated sediment indicate burning, but it is still being investigated as to whether this was a natural fire or use by humans. The talk places the evidence of distinct human groups arriving in Britain in the wider context of Europe, and outlines the ‘Cultural Mosaic Model’. The model suggests that small scale variation in material culture reflects local resources and environments, which in stable climate allows the establishment of traditions of practise and cultural norms. Changes in climate and environment, particularly in northern Europe, are argued to lead to shifts in population with social stress and resource competition with other groups, but with the long-term benefits of knowledge-sharing and increased gene exchange.

This talk is part of the PalMeso Seminar Series series.

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