6.1 Mesolithic lifestyles

‘Subsistence’ – what people ate in the past and how they acquired their food – has long been a primary concern of Mesolithic archaeology. This is sometimes mistakenly taken to imply that Mesolithic archaeologists have limited interest in issues about social organisation and ideology. That is not the case; subsistence behaviour is intimately connected to all aspects of lifestyle in past communities, especially those of hunter-gatherers. Its prioritisation is primarily one of methodological pragmatism rather than of theoretical persuasion.