Marking the Land: Hunter-Gatherer Creation of Meaning in their Environment

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William A Lovis, Robert Whallon
Routledge, Feb 26, 2016 - Social Science - 304 pages

Marking the Land investigates how hunter-gatherers use physical landscape markers and environmental management to impose meaning on the spaces they occupy. The land is full of meaning for hunter-gatherers. Much of that meaning is inherent in natural phenomena, but some of it comes from modifications to the landscape that hunter-gatherers themselves make. Such alterations may be intentional or unintentional, temporary or permanent, and they can carry multiple layers of meaning, ranging from practical signs that provide guidance and information through to less direct indications of identity or abstract, highly symbolic signs of sacred or ceremonial significance. This volume investigates the conditions which determine the investment of time and effort in physical landscape marking by hunter-gatherers, and the factors which determine the extent to which these modifications are symbolically charged. Considering hunter-gatherer groups of varying sociocultural complexity and scale, Marking the Land provides a systematic consideration of this neglected aspect of hunter-gatherer adaptation and the varied environments within which they live.


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About the author (2016)

William Lovis, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Curator of Anthropology, MSU Museum, Michigan State University

Robert Whallon, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Curator of Mediterranean Prehistory, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan

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