Exploring the archaeology of Caerau and Ely

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The first Neolithic things and practices probably appeared in south-east England in the 41st century cal BC, arguably by some kind of small-scale colonisation from the adjacent continent, and spread at a variable pace across the rest of Britain and Ireland over the next two and a half centuries or more, a process involving acculturation of local people as well as immigrants.

Enclosures may have been adapted as a social strategy of harnessing the power of the distant and the exotic, and perhaps old ancestral ties to the European continent, in a dynamic and rapidly changing social milieu. Close attention is given to themes of deposition, material culture and different kinds of social interaction, from networks of exchange to episodes of violence.

Radiocarbon dates, cremations, flatgraves and the appearance of the urnfield cemeteries in Belgium

A high tempo of change continued, as very different constructions came to be built from the 36th century cal BC onwards: The study of Irish Neolithic chronology reveals significant patterning, including a short currency for rectangular timber houses in the 37th century cal BC, but also highlights the challenge of establishing more reliable chronologies, for monuments in particular. Alternative scenarios for the date and nature of the beginning of the Neolithic in Ireland are modelled.

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Gathering Time ends with reflections on the nature and pace of change in prehistory. If generational timescales are now within our grasp routinely, more subtle and individualised kinds of pre history can and must be written, and the conventional frame of the long-term must shift from being familiar and comfortable to problematic.


  • Gathering Time: Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of Southern Britain and Ireland -ORCA.
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Full text not available from this repository. Abstract Gathering Time presents the results of a major dating programme that re-writes the early Neolithic of Britain by more accurately dating enclosures, a phenomenon that first appeared in the early Neolithic: Authored Book Date Type: This is in terms of and evidence from- construction, labour, ritual feasting and landscape meaning, alongside the use of them as gathering and assembly places for the early Neolithic populations of this country.

The dates have shown that some, such as Hambledon Hill , were in use for 3 centuries whilst others, such as the large enclosure at Maiden Castle , lasted only for a few decades.

Archaeologists unearth Britain's 'first building boom'

The causewayed enclosures were soon also joined by the uptake of linear cursus monuments. Further research and elucidations on the nature of the societies, from the outset of the Neolithic, has shown that the rate or tempo changed in Southern Britain from the time of BC to BC. Long Barrows and Cairns were first built around BC, but unlike the swift and dramatic introduction of the causewayed enclosures, we do not know whether they were gradual or not. The authors highlight this as a key and little studied research area Whittle et al. The long barrows themselves though proved to be longer lived with examples of these monuments continuing to be built after BC , perhaps representing long held kin affiliations.

At this time the South-Western pottery style also developed. These produces also had local and regional variations. These examples help to show the communication and exchange channels open during the early Neolithic.

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Archaeologists unearth Britain's 'first building boom' - BBC News

The article is well worth a read through, and the monograph of the causewayed enclosure dating will shortly be released alongside the radiocarbon dating project of early neolithic Britain. Patterns of society, and of independent sites will hopefully become clearer.


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  2. Gathering Time: Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of Southern Britain and Ireland.
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  4. As the authors note much of the present work is provisional and they suggest that models, such as theirs, can be and should be improved upon. The article itself will shortly be released online, accessible via the first link in this post.