Non-existence of waste



Looking back, or sideways, to hunter-gatherer groups it is clear that ‘waste’ was/is not a valid concept. As was seen in chapter 2, many modern hunter-gatherers societies believe that their environment provides for them in a parental fashion and, as such, they tend to consider it inappropriate to take more than is needed, or waste what is taken.

If we assume that similar beliefs were held by ancient hunter-gatherers, this could explain why Mesolithic settlements produce little evidence for over-hunting and many of the animal remains are highly processed, suggesting that all part of the carcass are utilised.

The mobility of hunter-gather groups and their low population density, also reduces the impact of human faeces on their environment. Indeed, human manure would have been spread widely and thinly and so would probably have been an important addition to the nutrient cycle.