Due to the remarkable preservation of organic remains, peri-alpine lake-dwellings of the Neolithic constitute an ideal case for the study of balance between population growth and strategies in the exploitation of ressources. Data for the two lake basins of Chalain and Clairvaux, for the end of the IVth millenium B.C., show direct correlations between a period of high demographic growth and economical and technical readjustments adopted to resolve the problems that result from this demographic growth. One way to assess these transformations is by looking at patterns of consumption, investigating for instance choices in the exploitation of animal resources. In the proposed reconstruction, a period of demographic growth in the context of a traditional pattern of shifting agriculture and of heavy dependance on the deer populations for animal protein, is opposed to a period of readjustments marked by the development of animal husbandry axed on open spaces; animal protein consumption being in the second phase far lowerer than during the first one. In this paper, we raise also the question of techniques of management in the exploitation of deer populations, of the evolution in the use of wild fauna and of the availability of hunting territories in relation to the expansion of human occupation and to other factors related to the ways these societies functioned.
Neolithic, Archeozoology, Environtmental modifications, Demographic management, Red deer.