I. Prehistoric Times > I. After the Ice Age: Holocene Hunter-Gatherers (12,000 Years Ago to Modern Times) > 3. Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherers in Europe
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
3. Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherers in Europe
 
European environments changed dramatically as Alpine and Scandinavian ice sheets retreated for the last time. Sea levels rose, flooding the North Sea, while the Baltic Sea formed at the foot of northern glaciers. Dense forests spread over formerly open country. Europeans now adapted to hunting and foraging in forest environments, camping in clearings and in more open woodland environments. Much human settlement was confined to riverbanks, lakeshores, and seacoasts. Here people found a bounty of fish, sea mammals, and bird life, supplementing this diet with plant foods and forest game. These Mesolithic cultures (Mesolithic, meaning “Middle Stone Age,” describes post–Ice Age European hunter-gatherers) achieved some degree of social complexity in Scandinavia, where richly decorated individuals were buried in cemeteries by 5500 B.C.E. These same cultures were the indigenous societies of Europe, farmers who first spread north and west across central Europe from the Balkans after 4500 B.C.E.  1
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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