Radiocarbon dating of elk (Alces alces), an economic and symbolic resource in prehistory

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning

  • Bente Philippsen, Danmark
The European elk, “moose” in American English, was an important resource in the prehistory of Northern Europe. On some sites, it was the most important species in the economy. Furthermore, numerous examples of mobile and non-mobile art show the importance of the elk as a symbolic or ritualistic resource. We can never be certain of the precise meaning of the elk and what it symbolized for prehistoric peoples. Contrary to what one would expect, however, natural sciences could contribute to this discussion by elucidating the nutrition and behavior of the elk: aquatic plants can have very high freshwater reservoir effects, and when elks consume many aquatic plants, their bone and antler will reflect that reservoir effect. A high freshwater reservoir effect in elk bones will thus confirm that the elk spent a lot of time in water, so it might have been regarded as a semi-aquatic animal, or as an animal belonging to “two worlds”, the terrestrial and the aquatic.
Udgivelsesår12 maj 2015
StatusUdgivet - 12 maj 2015
BegivenhedNeolithic cultures of Eastern Europe: Chronology, paleoecology and cultural traditions - Institute for the History of Material Culture RAS, St. Petersburg, Rusland
Varighed: 12 maj 201516 maj 2015


KonferenceNeolithic cultures of Eastern Europe
LokationInstitute for the History of Material Culture RAS
BySt. Petersburg

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