Barney Harris

Landscapes of Labour: A quantitative study of monument construction in North Wessex c. 4000-2000BC.

Landscapes of Labour: A quantitative study of monument construction in North Wessex c. 4000-2000BC.

My research will inform a new perspective on shifting social orders and cultural change during a pivotal episode in British and Irish prehistory; the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (4th-3rd millenia BC). During this extraordinary period communities came together to undertake massive engineering works. I will explore the physical and social aspects of megalithic (large, stone-built) monuments, examining how they were constructed and documenting the impact of this process on the everyday lives of Britain and Ireland’s earliest agrarian communities. Specifically, I will assess the levels of labour invested in monumental construction activities on Salisbury Plain and the Marlborough Downs.

Funding organisation

  • LAHP 
  • Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies (JFIGS) Bursary


 Educational background

  • MA, Material Culture Studies, University of Sheffield, 2013
  • BSc, Archaeological Science, University of Sheffield, 2009

Book Chapters

Harris, B.G., In press. Chalk rubble from the henge bank. In: Parker Pearson, M. (eds.) Durrington Walls and Woodhenge: a place for the living. The Stonehenge Riverside Project Volume 2. Prehistoric Society Monograph. Oxford: Oxbow.

Journal Articles

Cripps, J., Rosli, N.L.B.A., Harris, B., Lewis, R., 2015. Effects of Moisture Content on the Strength and Wear Resistance of Chalk. In: Lollino, G., Giordan, D., Marunteanu, C., Christaras, B., Yoshinori, I., Margottini, C. (eds.), Engineering Geology for Society and Territory - Volume 8. Springer International Publishing, pp. 305–310

Harris, B. 2016. Moving Stonehenge. Public Archaeology.


Harris, B., Doonan, R. & Pitman D., 2010. An Assessment of the Metallurgical Assemblage From Shotton, Northumberland. Wessex Archaeology


Harris, B., 2012. 'Chalking it down to Experience: An Experimental Study into the Architectonics of Durrington Walls'. Paper presented to the Theoretical Archaology Group Conference 2012, Liverpool, 17–19 Dec.

Harris, B. 2015. ‘Roll Me a Great Stone: The Roller Hypothesis and Other Legends’. Paper presented to the

Prehistoric Society Europa Conference 2015: The Origins of Monumentality, Dublin, 29–31 May.

Harris, B. 2016. ‘Renfrew Reloaded: The social organisation of monument construction in Wessex c. 4000BC-2000BC'. Paper presented to the 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Vilnius, 31 Aug–3 Sept.

  • A piece of tool-marked chalk recovered from the henge bank in 2005 at Durrington Walls, Wiltshire. Analyses of these tool marks allow us to better understand the processes associated with the construction of monuments on the chalk during the Late Neolithic
  • A piece of rock being split using the ‘feather and tare’ technique. The feather and tare technique was used to quarry and split rock in ancient Egypt, but our knowledge of prehistoric quarrying techniques in Britain and Ireland is lacking
  • Sketches of the transport and erection of a megalithic slab made by A.L. Lewis in the Himalayan area c. 1876. Ethnographic analogy has long been used as a source of inspiration for those interested in prehistoric megalith construction.

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