5. On the Applicability of Environmental and Ethnographic Reference Frames: An Example from the High-latitude Seascapes of Norway and Tierra del Fuego
Heidi Mjelva Breivik [+]
Department of Historical Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
Hein B. Bjerck [+]
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
A. Francisco J. Zangrando [+]
Laboratory of Anthropology CADIC-CONICET
Ernesto L. Piana
National University of Tierra del Fuego
Predictions about hunter-gatherer behavior are often derived from ethnographically documented cases coupled with environmental data. These predictive models are, however, largely based on pedestrian hunter-gatherers with a terrestrial subsistence strategy. We explore if these reference frames are applicable also to boat-using marine foragers in high-latitude seascapes by studying the mobility patterns of the marine foragers of Early Mesolithic central Norway, and the “canoe people” of southern Tierra del Fuego. Through archaeological environmental measures we find that both groups practiced a residential mobility type (forager strategy) with occasional logistical expeditions (collector strategy). Both had a narrow foraging radius and moved frequently, but returned to the same places. The mobility practiced by our marine foragers challenge the predictive hunter-gatherer models: In cold environments, forager behavior seems to be rare and long distance residential moves are expected. A high mobility frequency is found when food abundance is low, and extreme reuse of settlements is associated with an uneven distribution of critical resources. These factors do not seem to have structured the mobility of our foragers in the predicted way. The study entices us conclude that adaptive behavior among boat-using marine foragers in high-latitude seascapes does indeed follow a different set of rules than the land-based predictive models present.