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Mesolithic MiscellanyMarch 2008 Volume 19: Number 1 EditorialThe future of Mesolithic Miscellany??I thought it would be of interest to the Mesolithic research community to mention that Mesolithic Miscellany has been reviewed recently in a couple of publications. Firstly, Caroline Wickham-Jones in her on the web reviews in British Archaeology (available on line http://www.britarch.ac.uk/BA/ba.html) described MM as: specialised but quality, up-to-date, serious and informal communications, with invaluable back numbers. A model for others? A more detailed critique of MM has been published by Graeme Warren (University College Dublin) in issue 22 of Internet Archaeology, (http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue22/) an edition dedicated to the Mesolithic including articles arising from the Gathering our thoughts Mesolithic Postgraduate Research Forum, as featured in MM 18.1. For those of you who have not seen this, or who do not have access to Internet Archaeology, I will pick out some of the key points Graeme makes, in order to stimulate further discussion. Graeme writes: Like encountering any friend you haven't seen for a decade, especially one from the 1980s, it is interesting to work out what has changed and what hasn't. And it's intriguing to try and imagine how this old friend is going to fit into your new life - especially with their two planned visits to your inbox a year...This is especially true for MM as it re-emerges into a very different academic landscape than it had occupied even in 1996, when it entered hibernation As he explains, the early editions of MM tended to contain very short contributions, often one page, including field results, reviews of research and recent publications. One of the significant differences is that the articles have become much longer and referenced in full: a recent paper is 3,500 words of discussion and four pages (!) of references. However, some things have barely changed. The look of MM is much the same, although now it is published on-line, colour photographs can be used. When I took over as editor of MM, I made the decision to keep the format much as it always had been, and when I wrote my first editorial I asked for virtually any information of relevance to the European Mesolithic is welcome within the page of the newsletter" (MM 1.1, p1). But, as Graeme points out, in Mesolithic studies much has changed, and many of the bright young things who drove the development of MM and the MEIC are now the senior figures in the discipline; some have retired. (MEIC = Mesolithic in Europe International
Conferences). He also states, the quantity of Mesolithic research in Europe is overwhelming and it is impossible to keep on top of the subject in the way it might have been possible to 20 years ago. Graeme suggests that at some stage we must face up to the hard truth: any information of relevance to the European Mesolithic is setting itself a tricky task. Once we assume thatwe cannot read everything about Europe, wherever it stops, difficult questions about the 'Mesolithic in Europe' as a research community are raised. MM, it seems to me, needs to address these questions if it is to re-think its role in assisting that community.
The problem seems to be, in Graemes eyes, that the research community gave nothing by way of direction for the new MM, and, arguably, there is now a mismatch between the form of the newsletter and the current research and academic context. Some of the ways in which he thinks MM could gain a new lease of life involve asking questions about what the European Mesolithic community is prepared to contribute, and ways in which this can be sustained. His key suggestions are: MM should move towards shorter articles and a true newsletter style: the newsletter should be populated by shorter reviews of key issues in regions/nations/specialist fields, and these should not be referenced to facilitate production, opinion and speed of production. MM might consider a 'podium' as used in many newsbased publications. Greater use of web publication could be made. Certainly a discussion board/mailing list should be considered. Book reviews (critical to promoting debate), conference reviews and museum reviews will remain vital and fieldwork updates are an important aspect of the newsletter, but these should be short, not full interims, and they should make links to resources elsewhere. He concludes by saying that: I hope the comments made in this review are seen as a contribution towardsrethinking the role MM plays in fostering this research community. MM can play a central role in the Mesolithic research community of the 21st century, but it may have to re-imagine itself first.
As the editor I am very pleased that such issues have been raised and would like to thank Graeme for starting up this discussion! To date, I have not tried to set an agenda or develop a certain format, and do accept that MM could be taken forward in different ways. I am currently reviewing the web resources and how to develop them. However, the content of MM is largely contingent on members of the Mesolithic research community providing material for publication and I am very keen on more responses and thoughts to the suggestions put forward by Graeme, perhaps for publication in the next issue. Please do write in! This volume In this volume there are three main papers. The first by Sren Andersen reports on his recent excavations at the shell midden at Havn, Denmark, including some rather intriguing finds; the second by Alexandru Dinu, Adina Boroneant, Adrian Balasescu, Andrei Soficaru and Doru Miritoiu considers the scientific evidence for pig domestication in the Iron Gates region; and the third by Liv Nilsson Stutz, Lars Larsson and Ilga Zagorska describes their exciting new findings at Zvejnieki. Graeme Warren has also provided a note on a new project he is running, which seeks to provide a point in time review of the adoption of agriculture and to identify key research problems for the future. Interested parties are encouraged to contact him about the project and associated seminar, to be held in Dublin in May. New publications have always been an important element of MM and so in this volume I have expanded this section. Some authors have alerted me to their publications, but I have also trawled the journals for some other recent papers. The list I provide is by no means exhaustive and I would welcome further information. A number of books on Mesolithic topics have also been published recently (and more to come later in the year- see the next volume!). These provide a vast wealth of new data and perspectives, including the identification of areas of Mesolithic human defecation, the analysis of Mesolithic human and animal footprints, the excavation and reconstruction of Mesolithic structures, the study of 23,000 km of submerged landscape in the North Sea, and much, much more! Nicky Milner
A report on recent excavations at the shell midden of Havn in DenmarkSren H. Andersen Moesgrd Museum, 8270 Hjbjerg, Denmark, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The Danish shell middens, Kkkenmddinger, from the Stone Age are world famous. A special group, the so called stratified middens, i.e. middens with layers from the Late Mesolithic Erteblle culture (at the bottom) and the Early Neolithic Funnel Beaker culture (at the top) are of special importance because they contain occupation layers covering the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic: an event which has been 14C dated in these middens to 3950 cal BC. Therefore this type of Kkkenmdding offers the best and most reliable information on the introduction of the oldest farmers in Southern Scandinavia. Not only do they offer excellent opportunities for 14C dating based on different materials, e.g. shell, bone and charcoal, but they also have a very fine stratigraphic resolution within the settlement deposits. On such sites it is possible to analyze the environment, both land and marine, through time and literally measure observed changes. During the last 25 years a series of systematic excavations of such shell middens have taken place in Jutland, e.g. Norsminde, Bjrnsholm, Visborg and Krabbesholm, and a series of preliminary surveys have already been published (Andersen 1991, 1993, 2005; Enghoff 1991, 1993). All these investigations have been organised as interdisciplinary research teams of archaeologists and natural scientists from Denmark and Britain, following a more than 150 year old tradition in Danish shell midden research (Andersen 2007). One of the sites chosen for this type of research is the Havn shell midden in Eastern Jutland, where excavations have taken place over the last four years and the plan is to continue for another two to three years. With regards to the Havn investigation the team has consisted of archaeologists, a botanist, a geologist, two zoologists, specialists in charcoal analysis and marine molluscs and a marine biologist. In 1894 a small excavation was first conducted at Havn, but since then this midden has not been the subject of further investigation. In the recent excavations, a long trench has been placed through the midden to obtain a clear insight into the stratigraphy, combined with larger squares in and to the rear of the midden proper to look for settlement structures such as house constructions. In the Stone Age, Havn was a very small island (Havnactually means the island with a port), only c. 800-900 m long, c. 200-300 m wide which was situated far out and isolated in the mouth of the Mariager Fiord (figure 1). In this period the island was surrounded by extensive areas of shallow sea and tidal flats to the north, east and west, while to the south it bordered the fjord with its deeper waters and the opening out to the salty and nutritious Littorina Sea.Figure 1: A map of the Mariager fiord in East Jutland with the location of