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  • Publication
    Food and farming systems in the Neolithic – an impossible vista?
    (Taylor & Francis, 2022-01-10) ;
    The management and utilisation of mostly novel plant and animal species for food and other products has long been recognised as a central component of the Neolithic. The period has frequently been characterised as marking a tipping point in food procurement activities, a shift that has had a fundamental impact on societies today. While there may be little difference between the modes and means of subsistence strategies (e.g. Ingold 1988) - from hunting to management of domesticated species, and from collection of wild plants to planting and cropping of domesticate cultivars - what is significantly different is that for the first time over large regions of Europe the major building blocks of Neolithic diet were the same, i.e. cereal and pulse cultivars and domesticate animal species. Across this vast geographic span we might expect that such building blocks were re-configured and adapted at local or regional scales (e.g. Manning et al. 2013). There is also growing evidence for differences in organisational scale, e.g. between intensive small-scale garden plots and extensive systems of transhumance (Bogaard et al. 2016; Montes et al. 2020); differences in resource utilisation, e.g. mountain pastures and forests (Schibler 2017; Knockaert et al. 2017; Hejcmanová et al. 2013); differences in how plant and animal systems integrated with one another (Fraser et al. 2013; Styring et al. 2017; Gillis et al. 2017), as well as differences in food processing techniques. This variation appears as much related to the pre-existing needs and cultural identity of populations as to environmental context and niche construction (e.g. Kreuz and Marinova 2017; Gillis et al. this volume).