How far can archaeologists identify the components of hunter-gatherer diets?


30 Mark Essay Help-‘How far can archaeologists identify the components of hunter-gatherer diets?’

Within archaeology the term hunter-gatherer has been used interchangeably with forager, nomads and collectors, each with their own distinct patterns. Since the use of ethnographic research however, the definitions of hunter-gatherers have been more in line with Binford’s discovery of patterns in the Nanamiut Eskimo community where discussions of subsistence technique and camp movement defined whether a band were foragers or collectors. Both of these types of hunter-gatherer have their own key identification patterns mainly based around subsistence: the basic elements needed to ensure survival. To answer the question set there is a need to look at the direct and indirect evidence of diet within the archaeological record whist also considering the issue of differential survival. Further to this scientific methods need to be addressed and strengths and weaknesses of their usefulness within the area of hunter-gather diet needs to be assessed in order to decide whether archaeologists can offer a clear indication of hunter-gather diets in the archaeological record.

Notes from the specification on what this essay must include for top marks

  • Most accessible for those studying the Mesolithic or earlier Europe (Neanderthal and Boxgrove or even cave art).
  • Insights into modern foraging groups will not be sufficient to move students out of level 3 (c/ low B grade).
  • Candidates need to consider direct and indirect evidence of diet including skeletal remains, bone and plant assemblages, tools, features and structures.
  • A significant consideration of the impact of differential survival needs to be in place-links to evolution theory and why some did not survive whilst




This is so useful, thanks so much!