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Stone Knight, the Sphinx and the Hare: New Aspects of Early Figural Celtic
On the Significance of Acheulean Biface Variability in Southern Britain
Doggerland: a Speculative Survey
Long Barrows and Neolithic Elongated Enclosures in Lincolnshire: An Analysis of the Air Photographic Evidence
Arenas of Action? Enclosure Entrances in Neolithic Western France c. 3500–2500 BC
Parc le Breos Cwm Transepted Long Cairn, Gower, West Glamorgan: Date, Contents, and Context
Constructing Houses and Building Context: Bersu's Manx Round-house Campaign
The Public Forum and the Space Between: the Materiality of Social Strategy in the Irish Neolithic
Bryn Eryr: An Enclosed Settlement of the Iron Age on Anglesey
The Changing Provenance of Red Ochre at Puritjarra Rock Shelter, Central Australia: Late Pleistocene to Present
Neolithic/Early Bronze Age Pit Circles and their Environs at Oakham, Rutland
A Late Iron Age Mirror Burial from Latchmere Green, near Silchester, Hampshire
A Late Iron Age Burial from Chilham Castle, near Canterbury, Kent
Stone Knight, the Sphinx and the Hare: New Aspects of Early Figural Celtic
By Otto-Herman Frey
This paper was given as the Europa Lecture for 1997. It re-examines
arguments concerning the early development of early Celtic (La Tène
A) art and its relations with the Mediterranean world. Taking as a focus
the recent spectacular discoveries below the hillfort of the Glauberg
north-east of Frankfurt, the Celtic approaches to representations of
the human form are analysed and the complex question of meaning and
the relationship of early Celtic art to contemporary belief systems
discussed. As a brief coda, the striking changes which took place in
many parts of the early Celtic world after c. 400 BC are referred to
in the context of the major population movements of the time, notably
those which brought settlers from north of the Alps to Italy.
The significance of morphological variation in Acheulean
bifaces has been a central issue in Palaeolithic research for well over
a century. For much of that period interpretation has been dominated
by culture-historical models and it is only in the past 20 years that
other explanatory factors have received adequate attention. This paper
examines the combined role of several of these factors – namely raw
materials, reduction intensity, and function – on biface variability
in the British Isles, with special reference to the two major shaped-based
`tradition' devised by Roe (1967; 1968). First-hand examination of bifaces
from 19 assemblages suggests that final biface shape depends largely
on the dimensions of the original raw materials and the techno-functional
strategies designed to deal with them. Through these observations a
new model is generated and tested. This suggests that the patterning
in the British Acheulean simply reflects the nature of the resources
available at a site and the hominid procurement and technological strategies
used to exploit them. According to this model, well-worked ovates with
all-round edges were preferentially produced wherever raw materials
were large and robust enough to frequently support intensive reduction
procedures, usually when obtained from primary flint sources. Assemblages
characterised by partially-edged, moderately-reduced pointed forms were
only manufactured when smaller, narrower blanks, that imposed restrictions
on human technological actions regarding the location and extent of
working, were exploited. such blanks were usually obtained from a secondary
flint source, such as river gravel. Thus, Roe's pointed and ovate `traditions'
are seen not as the products of different biface making populations,
but as the same broad populations coping with the exigencies of a heterogeneous
environment, using different resources in an adaptive, flexible manner.
Archaeologists tend to refer to the land that once
existed between Britain and the continent as a landbridge. It was, however,
a landscape as habitable as neighbouring regions, and here called Doggerland
to emphasise its availability for settlement by prehistoric peoples.
Evidence from the Geological Surveys undertaken by countries bordering
the North Sea Basin, together with allied research, is drawn together
to provide an overview of the possibilities. A range of interacting
geological processes implies that the present-day relief of the North
Sea bed does not provide a sound guide to the relief of the former landscape,
nor to the chronology and character of its submergence. A series of
maps accompanies the text to provide a speculative reconstruction of
the topography, river systems, coastline, vegetation, fauna, and human
occupation of Doggerland from the Devensian/Wiechselian maximum to the
beginnings of the Neolithic.
The long barrows of Lincolnshire have been the subject
of long-term but intermittent interest. One aspect not investigated
hitherto is the air photographic evidence for plough-levelled long barrows.
Recently completed mapping work in the county by the Aerial Survey section
of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME),
as part of the National Mapping Programme, has made possible the analysis
of the air photographic evidence. This article presents an evaluation
of that evidence and considers its significance in terms of the Neolithic
of the region.
Recent research has led to a re-evaluation of the
defensive role formerly assigned to the Late Neolithic enclosures of
western France. Excavation of the distinctive pince de crabe entrances
which are a feature of many of these enclosures has suggested that these
were not single but multi-phase structures, with a purpose which must
have been monumental or ceremonial rather than protective. Human remains
in the enclosure ditches underline their significance as symbolic as
well as physical boundaries. The chronology of the elaborated entrances
indicates that they belong to a period of social competition in which
decorated pottery had a particular importance. This phase came to an
end early in the 3rd millennium BC when the enclosure ditches were backfilled,
and western France became integrated into a wider world of social and
raw material exchange.
First investigated in 1869, the transepted long cairn
of Parc le Breos Cwm was re-excavated in 1960–61 but without a report
being published. This account presents a number of radiocarbon dates
and a detailed re-examination of the human bone assemblages, and attempts
to put the monument in local and regional context. Radiocarbon dates
place the long cairn in the later part of the earlier Neolithic, and
support a fairly long span of time over which its mortuary deposits
were accumulated; they also show secondary re-use of the passage, and
perhaps also the deliberate incorporation of very old animal bone from
nearby caves. The analysis of the human bone assemblages indicates prior
exposure of the remains found in the chambers, in contrast to those
in the passage. Variation in musculoskeletal stress markers may indicate
a mobile lifestyle for at least some of the male mortuary population.
Other lifestyle indicators are noted, and isotopic evidence is presented
for a terrestrial and mainly meat-oriented diet in the sampled group.
The isolated context and hidden setting of the Parc le Breos Cwm long
cairn and the apparently low density of south Welsh monuments are stressed.
Bersu's war-time excavation of three `great' Iron
Age round-houses on the Isle of Man are considered. Their archive includes
letters from colleagues (eg Hawkes and Childe) which offer unique insights
into the construction of fieldwork context, particularly, in this case,
a Celtic paradigm. Concerned with house studies and the possibility
of `reconstruction', Bersu's methodology is analysed. Site documentation
shows him to be a `graphic archaeologist', thinking and interpreting
visually, and as such contrasts with concepts of `archaeology as text'.
Framed within an interpretive, humanistic `archaeology of inhabitance', the study explores the means by which a social, intellectual order particular to time and place is embedded within the material universe. Through the mediation of the human body, natural and architectural space is considered to be a medium for the production and reproduction of social relations. The specific materiality of places inhabited in the past is explored in detail, focusing on possibilities for and constraints upon the body and the senses.
The phenomenon of monumentality at the Loughcrew passage tomb cemetery in east-central Ireland is considered in the context of changing narratives of place and biographies of person and landscape. In contrast to many previous studies, the focus is upon engagement with the exterior spaces of the complex: the more frequent and larger-scale involvement of the communal body in these 'public' spaces will have played a critical role in the validation of knowledges and claims to authority which a more restricted group will have articulated within the confines of tomb chambers and passages.
The earlier tombs draw out qualities latent within
the landscape, placing particular emphasis on prior, natural boundaries.
Through time, the regionalisation of the Loughcrew hills acquires increasing
architectural definition, by means of which a series of interconnecting
spaces emerge at a much more human scale. The latest architectural and
spatial developments may well form part of material strategies through
which were engendered particular structures of authority carrying the
potential for substantially heightened individual prominence within
increasingly exclusive kinship solidarities. Ultimately, mediation between
the physical and metaphysical elements of existence may be controlled
with reference to distinct lines of descent rather than to a more generalised
ancestral community. At the same time, the range of hills is gradually
transformed from a meaningful locus which conceals within it the human
efforts of monumental construction, to a landscape that derives its
significance from massive summit cairns visible from considerable distances.
This appropriative transformation may be seen as a material strategy
which moves communities' conceptions of existence from an integrated,
cultural whole in which people and landscape are embedded in each other,
towards a vision of individuals and places as increasingly separate
Excavations on the site of a rectangular earthwork
at Bryn Eryr, Angelsey, have identified a sequence of occupation. In
the Middle Iron Age a single clay-walled round-house stood within a
timber stockade. By the later Iron Age a second house had been added,
adjacent to the first, and these two houses became the focus of a planned
settlement. A rectangular bank and ditch enclosure was established of
0.3 ha internal area. A yard developed in front of the houses, at the
head of a trackway leading from the entrance. Rectangular post-built
structures, perhaps granaries, were built and pits were dug to provide
clay flooring and, perhaps, wall plastering for the houses. By the early
1st millennium AD the perimeter ditch had become choked with silt and
the bank was eroding badly. A third house, with stone footings, was
added to the south of the original two, one of which was by now out
of use. Romano-British pottery, in small quantities but of good quality,
was in use on the site. The farm appears to have been abandoned, after
perhaps 700 years of development, during the late 3rd or 4th century
In this paper we apply geochemical sourcing methods
to an assemblage of ochre from archaeological excavations at the Puritjarra
rock shelter in western central Australia. Our work indicates that the
red ochre in Late Pleistocene contexts at this rock shelter is from
Karrku, a subterranean ochre mine still worked today by Walbiri people.
Archaeological finds at Puritjarra indicate that exploitation of this
source of high-grade red ochre had begun by 32,000 BP and has continued
without significant interruption since then. Changes since the Late
Pleistocene in the type and quantity of red ochre reaching the Puritjarra
shelter, from various sources including Karrku, provide means to test
current models of regional prehistory in this part of arid Australia
and illustrate some of the potential of this approach for regional studies.
Fieldwork east of Oakham, Rutland has located evidence
of prehistoric settlement, land use patterns, and ceremonial monuments.
Part of this included the excavation of a cropmark site which has revealed
an unusual sequence of Neolithic/Early Bronze Age pit circles and a
burial area. This is complemented by a fieldwalking survey of the surrounding
areas, allowing consideration of the relationship of juxtaposed flint
scatters and the excavated ceremonial area.
Iron Age Mirror Burial from Latchmere Green, near Silchester, Hampshire
An isolated Late Iron Age burial was discovered by a metal detectorist near Chilham Castle, Kent in 1993. The cremated remains of a single, probably female, adult under 30 years old were contained in a pottery jar of 'Belgic' style. The burial was accompanied by at least two, almost identical, brooches of La Tène II Knotenfibeln type and a bronze mirror and probably dates to 70–50 BC. The mirror is simply and rather crudely decorated.
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