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Title: Later prehistoric and early historic settlement archaeology of the western seaways : a study of the western settlement record from Shetland to Brittany in the First Millennia BC and AD
Author: Gilmour, Simon M. D.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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Detailed scrutiny of the Iron Age settlement archaeology of the Atlantic coastal regions, from Shetland in the north to Brittany in the south, highlights the close connections made possible by the Western Seaways. From the Later Prehistoric to Early Historic periods these lands have been drawn towards similar expressions of identity and sequences of settlement development of varying intensity and duration. Discussions of individual site chronologies and taphonomic problems combined with analysis of architecture, site layout and, to a lesser extent, material assemblages across the area has allowed the definition of settlement development in each area across almost two thousand years. The Atlantic west offers a unique environment for the investigation of complex issues relating to settlement patterning as a result of its often remarkable archaeological preservation. These frameworks provide the opportunity to examine the extent of contacts along the Western Seaways in greater detail and over a longer timespan than has previously been attempted. Some site-types have always been used to infer connections between western areas as distant as Brittany and Shetland including 'promontory forts' and 'souterrains'. By putting these into their local settlement and chronological context it becomes possible to interrogate their significance from particular economic, political and social perspectives, both as indicators of external contact and their place in local settlement patterns. Conclusions range from the definition of new local settlement sequences and discussions of their social significance, to a greater understanding of the importance of the Atlantic Seaways as conduits of trade, information and cultural contact. The Atlantic façade is perceived, not as a peripheral backwater, but as a zone characterised by a dynamic society with powerful and wide reaching influences. Dramatic and important settlement developments in this area could shed light on the process of social 'construction' that lead ultimately to the incipient kingdoms and states visible even today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available