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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy

Rowley-Conwy, P. & Legge, A.J. (2015). Subsistence Practices in Western and Northern Europe. In The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe. Fowler, C., Harding, J. & Hofmann, D. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 429-446.

Author(s) from Durham


Early agriculture in north-west Europe was highly diverse. Sometimes it spread rapidly, at other times it scarcely advanced at all, and in southern Scandinavia it retreated after its initial advance. Linearbandkeramik (LBK) farmers occupied small clearings on loess soils, concentrating on cattle and cereals and hardly exploiting the surrounding forest at all. After more than a millennium agriculture spread into southern Scandinavia; after an initial period in which some settlements contained many wild animals, by the middle Neolithic agriculture was ubiquitous. It did not spread into southern Norway until the late Neolithic, and in the badlands between the loess soils of central Europe and the glacial moraine of southern Scandinavia hunting remained important throughout the Neolithic. In Britain, most regions saw cultivation and domestic animals rapidly come to predominate the economy, but north-western Scotland may have continued hunting, fishing, and gathering until later in the Neolithic.