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Title: The same but better : understanding ceramic variation in the Hebridean Neolithic
Author: Copper, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 1205
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2016
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Over 22,000 sherds of pottery were recovered during the excavation of the small islet of Eilean Dòmhnuill in North Uist in the late 1980s. Analysis of the assemblage has demonstrated that all of the main vessel forms and decorative motifs recognised at the site were already in place when settlement began in the earlier 4th millennium BC and continued to be deposited at the site until its abandonment over 800 years later. Statistically significant stylistic variation is limited to slow drifts in the relative proportions of certain rim forms. Across the Outer Hebrides, decorative elaboration and the presence of large numbers of distinctive vessel forms would appear to mark out certain assemblages seemingly associated with communal gathering and feasting events at key locales within which a distinctive Hebridean Neolithic identity was forged. Throughout, this study takes a relational approach to the issue of variation in material culture, viewing all archaeological entities as dynamic assemblages that themselves form attributes of higher-level assemblages. It is argued that the various constraints and affordances that arise within such assemblages constitute significant structuring principles that give rise to commonly held expectations and dispositions, resulting in the kind of constrained temporal and spatial variation that we observe in the archaeological record and which in turn gives rise to the concept of the archaeological culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Bradford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Neolithic ; Hebrides ; Eilean Dòmhnuill ; Scotland ; Pottery ; Materiality ; Autopoiesis ; Assemblage theory