Defining a Regional Neolithic: Evidence From Britain and by Kenneth Brophy, G. Barclay

By Kenneth Brophy, G. Barclay

This booklet is the 9th released selection of papers from a Neolithic reviews team day convention, and it keeps the Group's objective of proposing examine at the Neolithic of all components of the British Isles. the subject - nearby range - is a vital subject matter in Neolithic reviews this day, and embraces traditions of monumentality, cost styles and fabric tradition. The participants to this quantity deal with problems with regionality via a chain of case-studies that attention now not at the conventional 'cores' of Wessex and Orkney, yet fairly on different parts - the 'Irish Sea Zone', eire, Scotland, Yorkshire and the Midlands. the quantity commences with an creation (Gordon Barclay) that expands at the preliminary impetus and examine questions in the back of the 2001 convention this quantity is predicated on. this is often by way of a extra summary contribution analysing that almost all accepted of instruments for the exhibit of 'regional' archaeological info, the distribution map (Kenneth Brophy). papers keep on with that deal with the position fabric tradition performs in either defining and characterising nearby developments, one addressing the special regionality of querns within the Neolithic (Fiona Roe), the opposite a wide-ranging research of excessive prestige fabric tradition and monumentality in Yorkshire (Roy Loveday). a chain of neighborhood stories follows, with 3 papers focusing explicitly on quite a number facts from the 'Irish Sea quarter (Vicki Cummings, Tom Clare and Aaron Watson and Richard Bradley). a wide and specific physique of proof from the East Midlands can be thought of (Patrick Clay) and the quantity is done through papers contemplating very assorted nearby scales in eire. At a extra localised point, a chain of islands off the east coast of eire are mentioned in a neighborhood and wider context (Gabriel Cooney) and a nonetheless wider scale method is taken to panorama and routeways throughout eire as an entire (Carleton Jones). those papers don't easily organize 'rival' unique areas, yet particularly recommend that neighborhood, local and nationwide traditions cross-cut and mix in several methods somewhere else. The interplay among areas is as major as intra-regional forte. This quantity addresses how we'd start to improve a extra nuanced imaginative and prescient of the Neolithic of the British Isles.

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Although it was still possible to offer syntheses of classes of monuments without recourse to such maps in the 1930s, such as Curwen (1930) and Piggott (1939). g. ) Distribution maps are part of the common currency of archaeological discourse. They have a vocabulary, a language of their own, which is familiar and understandable to us, as archaeologists. For instance, elements of the maps are regarded as a given, and need no mention in the key – from the coastline (usually depicted in unnecessarily spurious detail) and sea surface, to arrows requiring no N to show that they are pointing northwards.

The uncritical use of distribution maps leaves open the possibility for mapmakers to believe that they are neutrally depicting the archaeological record whilst map readers believe that what they are looking at is an objective document depicting some reality in the past. Distribution maps serve a number of functions, and one of them is to show meaningful patterns in archaeological data. However, it is difficult to accept that we can ‘map’ complex human and social relationships with this coarse tool.

10). This conclusion was the results of ‘Childe’s contemporary and archaeological experiences of a highly parochial Scotland’ (Richards 1995, 122), where it was possible for Childe to regard this overlapping distributional patterns as proof of his relatively low opinion of northern Scottish prehistoric architecture, from Skara Brae to the brochs. The data depicted and left off maps, then, must always be an issue for the mapmaker. Choices made at the very point of construction of the map have implications for how the map will be interpreted, and care must be exercised as the reader can only work with the selective data put before them.

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