Authors:Małgorzata Kaczanowska and Janusz K. Kozłowski
The Balkans, particularly southern and central, were sparsely populated in the Mesolithic and the occupation networks in that period were discontinous and highly diversified, contrasting with the density and homogeneity of the Early Neolithic. The aim of this paper is to describe the environmental conditions of the Mesolithic sites in relation to Early Holocene climatic fluctuations and to discuss the causes of specificity and diversity of culture and behaviour at this period.
Some general trends are observable in the adaptation to Early Holocene environments (trends in faunal exploitation; for ex. shift from high ranked large game to low ranked small animals) but also particular adaptations to local conditions (technological changes due to difficulties in access to better quality lithic raw materials, adaptations to coastal or to terrestrial resources reflecting the unique features of site use, etc).
The diversity of the Mesolithic is also reflected in cultural taxonomy: in some sequences continuity of the Balkan Epigravettian techno-morphological tradition can be seen as opposed, in other sequences, to highly isolated groups with technology and tool morphology adapted to local raw materials and specific activities. The Balkan Mesolithic was not completely cut-off from the Western Mediterranean techno-morphological influences (particularly in Southern Greece) and from the Anatolian lithic traditions (seen only in the Northern Aegean). A more intensive network of marine contacts is confirmed by obsidian circulation in the Aegean Basin.