The Iron Gates Mesolithic in a Regional Context
Keywords:Mesolithic, Balkans, Iron Gates, Neolithisation, population movements
The specific character of the Iron Gates Mesolithic material culture derives from the geomorphological and ecological features of the Iron Gates gorge in the Early Holocene. However, the Mesolithic of this geographic area can be entirely linked to the general flows of Mesolithic development in Europe as well as to the phenomena observed in the Adriatic-Ionian and Aegean zones. This demonstrates that the cultural, technological and economic changes which occurred during the Early Holocene were influenced by the same or similar factors as the entire area of the Balkan Peninsula. The absence of Mesolithic settlements outside the Iron Gates raises the question of whether the interior parts of the Central Balkans were inhabited during the Early Holocene. As hinted by the research in the Iron Gates and the Adriatic hinterland, Mesolithic settlements were probably located outside the denser forested areas (in the littoral and high-altitude zones) but this remains to be confirmed. Based on the assessment of the demographic potential of Mesolithic and Neolithic communities, four scenarios of Neolithisation of different parts of the Balkan Peninsula have been proposed.
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