Vortragsankündigung 2019 Kiel Imagining hunting landscapes

Imagining hunting landscapes in contemporary Germany:

correspondences between animals‘ movement signatures and hunting practices (Thorsten Gieser, University of Koblenz-Landau)

In this brief lecture, I will sketch a contemporary hunting landscape in Germany by tracing the material trails of hunters and game animals. Drawing inspiration from what hunters call Pirschzeichen (animal movement signatures) I follow the often miniscule ways in which animals shape the land and its vegetation and become known to hunters. In a second step I link these animal movement signatures to hunters’ landscaping practices (pathways, architecture, lines of fire, feeding sites, etc.).   In analogy to the heuristic model of the ‘operational chain’, which reconstructs successive steps in the production and use of material artefacts, I suggest that the material remains of hunting practices in the landscape can be linked up and integrated into a larger hunting landscape by considering their correspondences to the Pirschzeichen.


This is a key note lecture for the session:

Human, beast and landscape. A diachronic study of hunting and human-animal-relationships in Northern Europe and Baltic Sea area

Session organizers: U. Schmölcke*, O. Grimm

keynote speakers: Peter Rowley-Conwy (Durham University), Thorsten Gieser (Koblenz University)

This session will provide a diachronic consideration of human, animal, and landscape interplay with an emphasis upon Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea area. Focusing on, amongst other aspects, periods of change it follows a multi-perspective approach. The considered time frame covers the late Palaeolithic up to the Middle Ages, and the central topic is hunting and, more broadly, human-animal-relationship, against the background of human’s dependency on landscape and climate. Thus, in particular for the period of hunters and gatherers, hunting techniques, strategies, and motivations are as relevant as the union formed between human and dog, as are the indications for the veneration of hunted animal species. For the Neolithic and later periods, hunting for the protection of acres and flocks will have to be considered alongside the hunt for the acquisition of raw materials, as opposed to, for example, trophy hunting and ‘princely hunt‘. For the session, papers from various disciplines in the Natural Sciences and Humanities are welcome.

Thus, the session will bundle different aspects connected with hunting, and the overall diachronic view, given by one of the keynote speakers for parts of Northern Europa, and will imply the chance to trace red threads and changes. Furthermore, the focused analysis on certain periods and regions will enable us to see specific hunting patterns and more individual solutions, related to the landscape. Questions, central for the session, are as follows: to which extent were intensity and purpose of hunting linked to cultural transformations (example: Neolithisation)? Were times with changing hunting patterns also times of general changes in the human-environmental interaction or interplay (example: wolf and bear extirpations in Christian societies)? What about the dynamics of human-animal-relationship, from dogs to other true mates of humans (example: late Paleolithic dog burial from Bonn-Oberkassel), in relation to domestic animals (example: Neolithic cattle graves) and wild beasts (example: bear symbolism)? What about the reconstruction of hunting episodes at particular sites, what about the earliest indications for the veneration of hunted animal species and, finally, what about the beginning of trophy hunting and the development of ‘princely hunt‘?

International Open Workshop: Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 15,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes VI,

11-16 March 2019 at Kiel University, Germany.

Social space and natural environment amplify the concept of landscape resulting from transformation processes of human-environmental interaction patterns within the history of humankind. Different layers of human activities are visible in societal fingerprints on the natural and cultural environment. Investigating these reciprocal dynamics includes conditions of different environmental, demographic, economic, social, and ideological settings in global tendencies, regional developments, and local episodes.

A transdisciplinary effort of scientists and scholars is necessary to achieve a better understanding of societies beyond landscapes, which involves substantial changes in human-environmental relationships and the underlying interaction patterns of the past 15,000 years.