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NOS-HS-Sekr. nord. sam.nemd. HumSam

EWS Human-Seal Interrelations Exploratory workshops on faunal history and exploitation of seals in Northern Europe

Awarded: NOK 0.10 mill.

Project Number:


Project Period:

2014 - 2014


Partner countries:

The exploratory workshops on Human-Seal Interrelations aim to address issues concerning the ecology and social behavior of different seal species from a diachronic perspective in connection to human activity and environmental change. The focus will be on specific seal species, harp seal, grey seal, ringed seal and harbor seal which are or were indigenous in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic during the middle and late Holocene. The presence of different seal species in different time periods in the Baltic Sea is linked to climatic fluctuations during the Holocene which in turn offered different opportunities for human exploitation. According to archaeological research, seals were intensively exploited by humans in the past but the exploitation patterns var ied greatly between regions and time periods. Thus, these workshops will explore the humans´ use of seals in the Nordic countries through time by comparing archaeozoological data on seal exploitation patterns including seasonality, kill-off and butchering patterns from the Baltic Sea, Norway, Iceland and Greenland. This will provide us information on the utilization of seals, hunting methods as well as with data in order to reconstruct human dietary practices during time. Environmental changes and climati c oscillations are reflected in the trophic web, also in the form of cascading trophic interactions ending to the top predators of the Baltic, the seals. Hence, environmental changes might have caused possible shifts in the seals´ main prey by affecting e .g. the salinity having thus impact to the foraging, migration and reproduction patterns as well as their populations. Such effects might be reflected in archaeological remains. The high expertise of scholars and research institutions included in the proj ect will guarantee the highest possible level of scientific exchange by bringing together methodological approaches of archaeology, anthropology and natural sciences.

Funding scheme:

NOS-HS-Sekr. nord. sam.nemd. HumSam

Thematic Areas and Topics

No thematic area or topic related to the project