Activity-related Skeletal Morphologies of Europe’s Last Hunter-Gatherers and First Farmers 

Professor Christopher Knüsel 

Funding from the Fondation Fyssen brought Dr. Sébastien Villotte on a post-doctoral award for two years (2009-2010) to the Bioarchaeology Laboratory, University of Exeter, to undertake research focussing on human behaviour from the 7th to the end of the 5th millennium BC. During this period, groups of Mesolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers lived in close proximity to early Neolithic Europeans. Understanding the social structure and organization of the societies of these last hunters and first farmers solely from the material culture of their activities is difficult. The analysis of ‘occupational stress markers’ (entheseal changes), taking into account biological, social, economic and environmental factors, allows us to test several hypotheses based on ethnographic data, especially about: 1) the presence of a sexual division of labour in these groups, and 2) the shift in subsistence strategies during the Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition.