'Open-weave, close-knit' : archaeologies of identity in the later prehistoric landscape of East Yorkshire
This thesis is concerned with approaches to identity in archaeology, specifically the later prehistory of East Yorkshire, during the first millennium B. C. The region is characterised by a middle-late Iron Age square barrow burial rite, which has been interpreted as the product of the 'Arras' culture. It tackles the problem that identity has traditionally been understood as a social given (as part of an evolutionary process or an innate condition of a social group) that can be read from material remains. It argues that such models fail to make a critical enquiry into how identity is reproduced, with damaging social and political implications. In contrast, the thesis argues that identity is the project through which people come to know themselves as social beings, through the webs of their relations with others and the material world. Identity always takes work, and is constituted through that work. Archaeology therefore explores how identities were reproduced and mobilised over time, through an analysis of material fragments which are both the product and conditions of identity practice The thesis explores the contrasting character of practices of inhabitation from the later Bronze Age - late Iron Age (c. 8 th -I' century B. C. /A. D. ). It interprets the emergence and disappearance of the burial rite in terms of the political projects and discourses of identity which were reproduced through the strategic manipulation of the dead. More broadly, it argues that archaeology is both an analytical and interpretative endeavour. It presents the theoretical grounds of its approach, a methodology for exploring identity, and the results of its analysis (including a report on original fieldwork undertaken at Wharram Grange Crossroads, East Yorkshire). It also argues that the way in which this interpretative process is returned to the reader is constitutive of the meaning that they make, and it develops ways in which this can be made explicit in the writing of a thesis.