This research project will examine the evidence for the continuity of mythological motifs and belief-systems in European ethnography that have been previously documented as belonging to the cognitive and cultural framework of late Paleo-Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and their human-nature interfaces. Through creating a framework that examines the hunter-gatherer mentality and interactions with their surroundings, I will demonstrate that European mythology must be understood within a series of contextual and multi-layered transformations. This can be achieved through analysing ethnographic accounts of both bear and hunting ceremonies in the folklore and traditions of these cultures. I will test my methodology within the context of Austrian/Bavarian Alpine traditions, with the aim of expanding it outwards into other winter processions/bear festivals throughout various European cultural contexts.
Please read here for the official research proposal.