Department of Archaeology, University College Cork
Thursday 13, Park Concourse
An important aspect of social organisation is postmarital residence, as it informs us about how outsiders are incorporated into an already existent residential network. Integration contributes to the maintenance of the group within the larger regional network by promoting stability between neighbouring groups. It also provides a framework for establishing and maintaining alliances and trade networks. While patrilocality is the predominant form of postmarital residence in recent foraging societies, it is not known whether this was also the case for modern humans living in Europe prior to the Neolithic.
This is the first study to explicitly examine postmarital residence in European Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic populations using craniometric data. Data were collected on a total of 52 skulls with a 3D digitiser and examined using geometric morphometrics and multivariate statistics. The predominant form of postmarital residence was examined in the entire dataset, as well as a subset consisting of Mesolithic specimens from the Portuguese Muge Valley sites.
In both analyses males were more variable than females. Additionally, females showed a greater correlation with geography, suggesting that they were moving less than males. This is a pattern consistent with matrilocality. These results suggest that the predominant form of postmarital residence in these populations was inclined towards matrilocality. This pattern was observed in both the complete and Mesolithic datasets. The exact pattern of residence is undoubtedly much more complex than what can be derived from the present data. Limitations of this study and suggestions for future research are also discussed.
This research was funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.