ROOTS Public Lecture Series by JMA-Chair Charlotte Damm

Nov 15, 2021 from 04:15 PM to 06:00 PM

Klaus-Murmann-Hörsaal, Leibnizstr. 1, 24118 Kiel

This ROOTS Public Lecture Series provides novel research perspectives to unveil interwoven past social, environmental, and cultural phenomena, shedding light on the ‘roots’ of current socio-environmental challenges and crises. Leading international experts joining the Cluster of Excellence as guest chairs (Johanna-Mestorf-Academy-Chairs) give insight into their research, enhancing ROOTS large interdisciplinary initiative.

Overview of the settlement at TaborshamnOverview of the settlement at Taborshamn, Arctic Norway, occasionally inhabited from c.7000 BC into the 20th century AD (photo by Charlotte Damm).

ROOTS Public Lecture

Charlotte Damm, professor at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø and current JMA chair of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS, will give a public lecture on

"Scales of Interaction. Quantity and Quality of Encounters amongst Northern Foragers"
While it is generally acknowledged that most hunter-gatherers live in small groups, notably emphasized by anthropologist Nurit Bird-David (2017), it has recently been pointed out that they may still draw on a quantitatively large social and cultural network (Bird et al. 2019). Here it will be argued that the quality and intensity of interactions may be of greater importance for the impact than the sheer number of contacts. This argument builds on insights from archaeological and anthropological studies of the transmission of technology and of the sharing of such practices. Insights from a multi-scalar study of mid-Holocene foragers in northern Norway illustrates that interaction occurred at several different scales, both spatially and numerically. Through the interpretation of the regularity, frequency and intensity of social and practical interaction it is suggested that although the majority of the time was spent in small and intimate residential units, the assumed flexibility in the composition of these, frequent relocations and regular aggregations led to quantitatively extensive networks. Nevertheless, any transmission of knowledge and skills would have depended on individual interaction over an extended period and the involvement of active practical tasks. It is furthermore argued that to comprehend the dynamics of interaction and transmission also in small scale societies we must consider their heterogenous composition and diversity. Only by envisioning the past as populated by actors of different gender, ages and capacities may we understand the dynamics and complexity of interactions.
Bird, D.W., R.B. Bird, B.F. Codding and D.W. Zeanah 2019. Variability in the organization and size of hunter-gatherer groups: Foragers do not live in small-scale societies. Journal of Human Evolution 131:96-108.
Bird-David, N. 2017a. Before Nation. Scale-Blind Anthropology and Foragers´ Worlds of Relatives. Current Anthropology 58(2):209-226.

Find more information about Charlotte Damm here

Add to your iCal calendar



Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions