In general, the Mesolithic lifestyle was flexible and adaptable: if a bad year meant a poor autumnal harvest of nuts, berries and roots, then this could often be made up by foraging in the intertidal and coastal zones. Only if both resources failed to provide were communities really threatened. As Wicks and Mithen (2014) noted (see section 4.3), varying conditions were not just a problem resource-wise; increased winds also impacted on sea-travel which had possible knock on effects on mobility and mortality for Mesolithic communities. To investigate the effects of these changes, they developed their research to include analysis of secure radiocarbon dates as a proxy for population levels in the west of Scotland. While this method has its weaknesses, not least the fact that it is driven by the varying nature of excavations, it does highlight an interesting pattern and is certainly a useful way in which to generate a discussion about the possible impact of environmental downturns.
4.4.2 Material Culture